holidays & recipes: mother’s day cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream
A month ago, when I started planning ahead for May’s subject matter I had a typical Mother’s Day post in mind. A lot can happen in a month. I feel compelled to share a particular story with you because I have experienced a paradigm shift, which has me viewing Mother’s day in another light. Three weeks ago I was informed I’d need medical testing done. I went into panic mode. My blood pressure jumped to a dangerous level and I couldn’t control my emotions. My husband was calm, reassuring and a rock. My children were on edge, but held it together. I called my brother to tell him and he told me about his very dear friend who could relate. I asked my brother to have her call me. I needed to talk to someone because I could not get a grip on my emotions. I felt out of control. My brother’s friend called. I listened to her story and absorbed her wisdom. I did not feel 100% calm, but I walked away from that call feeling much more confident and relaxed. I got a grip on my emotions and could deal with the realm of possibilities that I’d face after I received the results of the testing. My brother’s friend is a strong, kind, wise woman who assuaged my fears. When I got the results of the testing I sent a text to family and friends with joyful news: “Negative!!!” I felt the relief wash over my person and I immediately felt changed in a way that only could happen through a revelation of great magnitude. I am not the same person today. I have been forever altered by this experience. It doesn’t take an anvil dropped from the heavens onto my head to wake me up. I took this experience as a wake-up call. While I’ve made resolutions throughout my life I’ve managed to keep very few of them. I do not have to make a resolution or a vow to live a fuller life, see the world with the fervor of a child, cherish every moment with my family, be thankful to those who have touched my life and take care of myself (physically, mentally and spiritually). I have found a new inner peace and I feel as if the world went from a black and white silent film to an HD extravaganza. I am literally stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. Just the other day, I asked my husband to stop the car. I saw a patch of honeysuckle. I opened the window and inhaled the fragrant smell of the blossoms. To my husband’s credit, he stopped the car, didn’t ask questions and let me enjoy the moment in silence. On this Mother’s Day I am going to celebrate the gift of life and the gift of motherhood. I am honored to be the mother of such loving, thoughtful young men. They have given me more than I think they will ever know. My young men only have a couple years left at home before they head out into the world and I intend on making the most of every day that I get to have them walk in the house and say, “Hi, Mom.” And, I get to ask, “How was your day?” It is a gift that I will appreciate every single day.
Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes (Recipe by Glorious Treats) Ingredients 1 ¼ cups cake flour 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 2 eggs ¾ cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract ½ cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil) ½ cup buttermilk Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 2. In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with whisk, and set aside. 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and oil, beat. 4. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined. Scrap down the side of the bowl. 5. The batter will be thin. Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners. Fill liners about 2/3 full. 6. Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. 7. Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack. Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients ½ cup egg whites 1 cup granulated sugar 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in small pieces 2 tsp vanilla extract Instructions 1. Whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C). 2. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until shiny and double in volume. 3. Using your paddle attachment with the mixer on low add the butter bit by bit until incorporated. Then mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl as needed. 4. The buttercream should be light and fluffy, avoid over-mixing. Buttercream can be frozen or refrigerated for future use. (If freezing it make sure to thaw in stages, beginning in the refrigerator and then beaten by hand before use.) 5. We found that the large petal tip by Wilton works the best to achieve these results, tip number #125, the gum paste flowers were bought.Photography Data: Ruth Balk ApertureFNumber: f/4.0 Make: Canon Model: Canon EOS 450D ExposureTime: 1/50 FNumber: 4/1 ExposureProgram: 3 ISOSpeedRatings: 100 MaxApertureValue: 3/1 MeteringMode: 5 Flash: 16 FocalLength: 100/1