Tagged birthday

50th birthday party cupcakes

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David requested cupcakes for his 50th birthday party.  I used the request as an excuse for another creative endeavor, to tweak some of my existing recipes and formulate some new ones. They were a hit and many of the party guests wanted the recipes for all three varieties so here they are.  Feel free to share them but I would be very upset if you printed or published them without my permission since they are my originals.  Enjoy!

Coconut Coconut CakeDSC05415

MIX: With an electric mixer on medium/high, beat until very creamy and light colored:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, very softened to room temperature.  In New England winters – & this years spring! – room temp is not warm enough.  I microwaved my sticks additionally for about 15 seconds.  Having very soft butter is important.
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar added bit by bit.

Beat into the mixture one at a time:

  • 4 large egg yolks

Slowly add to the mixer, alternating with each other 1/3 at a time, the following two mixtures.  Blend well after each addition:

  1. Sifted together: 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  2. Stirred together: 1 cup coconut milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Remove completed mixture to a large bowl.  Use the mixer to beat the following until soft peaks form:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar added bit by bit

Fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture until no white shows then also fold in:

  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

BAKE: fill batter 2/3 full into paper lined cupcake tins or foils.  350° for 17-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  They should still be moist looking.  Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove each cake to a rack to cool completely. Makes around 30 cupcakes.

FROST: Combine the following in a mixer in the order listed beating after each addition until light and creamy:

  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter; softened like above
  2. 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  3. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  4. 1 tsp vanilla

Spread frosting to cooled cupcakes decorating with toasted coconut sprinkles.  To toast coconut:  spread some sweetened flaked coconut onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350° oven for 15 minutes stirring often to keep browning even.

Carmel Chai Spice Cake, gluten-freeDSC05405

MIX:  With an electric mixer on medium/high, beat until very creamy and light colored:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. In New England winters – & this years spring! – room temp is not warm enough. I microwaved my sticks additionally for about 15 seconds. Having very soft butter is important.
  • 1 1/2 packed cups of light brown sugar adding bit by bit.

Beat into the mixture one at a time:

  • 4 large egg yolks

Slowly add to the mixer, alternating with each other 1/3 at a time, the following two mixtures. Blend well after each addition:

  1. Sifted together: 2 2/3 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill mix), 2 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp ground chai spice*
  2. Stirred together: 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Remove completed mixture to a large bowl. Use the mixer to beat the following until soft peaks form:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar added bit by bit

Fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture until no white shows.

BAKE: fill batter 2/3 full into paper lined cupcake tins or foils. 350° for 17-20 minutes just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. They should still be moist looking. Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove each cake to a rack to cool completely.  Makes about 30 cupcakes.

FROST: Combine the following in a mixer in the order listed beating after each addition until light and creamy:

  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter; softened like above
  2. 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  3. 1 tsp ground chai spice*
  4. 1/2 cup caramel sauce (recipe following)

Spread frosting to cooled cupcakes and decorate with a caramel sauce drizzle.  I filled a condiments plastic bottle with a tube-nosed cap to drizzle with.

Caramel sauce:  You can use store-bought but I have not found any that is real caramel instead only tasting like brown-colored corn syrup.  This one is amazing!  From Joy of Cooking, in a small heavy sauce pan pour:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water poured over sugar to wet it all.

Heat on medium flame swirling pan until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Turn up heat to med/high, put the lid on the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove lid and continue cooking until the mixture is deep golden brown swirling the pan as it cooks to keep it mixed.  It will brown at the edges first then begin smoking when done.  Remove from heat and add in:

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into piece.  Whisk in completely.
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Whisk in completely.
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. a pinch of salt

NOTE: if caramel gets lumpy then simply reheat on low whisking until it smooths out.

*Chai spice is the spice blend that is used in chai tea.  I have a tin of my daughters blend so ground the whole spices in a designated coffee grinder to make my own fresh powdered spice (whole star anise, whole allspice, whole fennel/anise seeds).  However, you can substitute the 5 Spice Blend asian powdered spice available at any supermarket.

Red Velvet Beet Cake, David’s favoriteDSC05403

PREPARE:  put in a small sauce pan then heat on low until melted together:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2oz. broken up unsweetened chocolate (I use Ghirardelli)

Whisk to smooth the mixture out adding in then letting cool completely:

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red liquid food coloring or 1/2 tsp paste coloring

Drain, then grate, then drain again squishing out all the liquid:

  • two 15oz cans of sliced beets

MIX:  In a mixer add then beat together:

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Add the melted, cooled chocolate mixture plus the grated beets to the egg/sugar mixture blending completely.  Then add, mixing well, the following ingredients that have been sifted together:

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

BAKE: fill batter 2/3 full into paper lined cupcake tins or foils. 350° for 17-20 minutes just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. They should still be moist looking. Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove each cake to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

FROST: Beat in the mixer the following ingredients adding in the order listed:

  1. 1 stick of unsalted butter very softened to room temperature. In New England winters – & this year’s spring! – room temp is not warm enough. I microwaved my sticks additionally for about 15 seconds. Having very soft butter is important.
  2. 8oz. cream cheese softened the same way.
  3. 3 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla

Frost cooled cupcakes then sprinkle with red sugar and some grated chocolate.

 

 

50th birthday comedy club

DSC05397My husband David turned 50 over the week-end.  To celebrate his transition he decided to let his normally shy self out of the proverbial ziplocked bag and showcase his hidden talent for stand-up comedy.  Our small barn became a club & hosted a hilarious evening with friends!  See his video debut below.

The marquee sign was made from foam core.  I painted the edges with artist’s acrylic paint, punched holes through for a strand of Christmas tree lights that I place clear bulbs through.  All was duct taped in the back to stay flat.  Words were printed on my large format ink jet printer onto tabloid size paper.

party invitationThe PDF invitation was made in the Pages program of my apple computer.

Our guests were asked to bring some finger food to share and a joke to tell.  The actual intent of the evening was a surprise.  Knock knock…who’s there…DSC05401

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DSC05372The Whinery sign above the bar/counter was made by lightly painting a piece of wood with semi-gloss wall paint.  For ease I purchased a pre-cut piece of thin plywood at Michael’s Crafts.  I then laid out the lettering in my computer, used the “flip” function to reverse the words then printed it out again on my large-scale format printer.  I taped this onto the board print-side down and traced the outline of the words.  The ink on the paper leaves lines so I then had a pattern to color in.  I simply used a felt tip pen for speed and ease.

“The Whinery…get it off your chest.”

DSC05374One of the best gags of the evening was David’s “microphone”.  Fashioned from a round of plywood, some PVC pipe and a rubber-banded black sock, it provided a great prop for many, MANY jokes…”Hey, it this thing on?”  “Can you hear me in the back?”, “Let me get closer to the mike”, heads were banged on it (with faux feed-back sound from the audience) and we pretended to pull the mike off the stand.  It only stayed somewhat propped up because of the hole David drilled into the floor of his “stage”.
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See David perform his routine at his own just-for-fun blog site JacksonDavidComedy.com

staring in the face of 50