Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Emery!

Today I had the privilege of creating some cupcakes for a sweet big sister!!! Emery turned 4 years old today and wow, she was such a beautiful princess in her big white gown!! Here mama and aunt made a sweet tea party for her to celebrate her special day!! This is one of those parties however that reminded me how blessed I am to be in a season of life with many many good things going on, and how I need to be more thankful for that...because not everyone is walking that simple road right now.

Everyday we embark on a journey without knowing what tomorrow will bring. Sometimes the Lord has for us hard climbs in life to strengthen us, to give us empathy for others, to show us what is really important in life, to show His strength and love is sufficient for today, and always to draw us closer to Him.

The "M" family has been called to endure a great climb. Emery's little sister is going through chemo for leukemia...and today, because of a fever, her and her daddy were in the hospital missing her big sister's party. Life may not always seem fair...and it's not supposed to be. But what is amazing is how the light of Jesus shines through this family in good times and in bad. The Lord's great love and strength are always enough to carry us through today...and they are a living testimony to that! My hope is when those challenges come (because they will), the Lord will fill me with unspeakable grace and peace...that He will use me, like He is using the "M" family, to shine His goodness and joy...because He is matter what we go through!

The party was simple, but I wanted Emery to have something beautiful to look at and yummy to eat! Her mama wanted lemon cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, black covers on the cupcakes, pink frosting and white flowers on I did that was up to me! :) I love creative freedom! :) hehe!! I made Emery and her little sister their own special flower pot cupcake because it was Emery's day and because I wanted her little sister to feel so important and special too. Her sister will be enjoying her cupcake in the next day or two when she gets home! :)
The party was perfectly sweet! Happy Birthday Emery!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes AND MORE!!

WOW, where has the summer gone!!??? I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post! - naughty girl! :) Now that we're having a great dose of good weather, it seems summer is coming to a close and school is right around the corner! I don't know how I feel about that. Having a predictable schedule again suits me wonderfully, but losing my husband and daughter to another school year makes me want to cry! But alas...there's always cupcakes to put a smile on my face...and hopefully yours too!! :)

I made some cupcakes for a sweet friend who was hosting a bridal shower for her daughter's upcoming wedding. She is SO excited and so was I to share some yummy cupcakes with her! She requested one batch of the cupcakes to be gluten-free! I'd never made gluten-free cupcakes, so this was a fun new adventure for me! - and I was really happy with how they turned out!!!
Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes
Sift together:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup cocoa powder (I use Pernigotti)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt

In a separate bowl mix together:
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs + 2 whites (added two whites for structure because I don't add xantham gum)
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl mix together:
1 cup hot coffee + 4 oz dark chocolate until chocolate melts

Add hot coffee/chocolate liquid to egg/oil mixture and stir till combined. Add liquid ingredients to flour ingredients and whisk until combined. Pour into muffin tins - makes 2 dozen plus. Bake 350 degrees for 15 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from tins to cool on rack.

The original recipe called for 1 tsp xantham gum, only two eggs (total) and no melted chocolate. I don't own xantham gum and probably won't unless I'm making a lot of gluten-free things because it's pretty spendy. So, I added the two eggs whites and the melted chocolate to help with structure. I don't know how large of a cake layer this will bake...I've only made the cupcakes with it and the texture was PERFECT!! Very light, moist, cake like...not gummy at all!

I topped these chocolate cupcakes with a yummy mocha buttercream! Use melted chocolate and espresso in your buttercream! - not sure on the quantities...I just add enough until I get the flavor I like! :) Make it bold!! :)

I also made my yummmmmmy coconut cupcakes (click here for the recipe) filled with white chocolate coconut custard. Here's the recipe for the coconut custard:
(adapted from Aarti Party's "Come'ere Puddin' Pie")
2 cups whole milk
3 yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Qty 2 - 3.5oz bars of Lindts White Coconut (I found mine at Target)
Pinch of salt

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the milk, yolks and extracts. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, chocolate and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, then immediately remove from heat. Mixture should be very thick! Poor into a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill for 3 hours, until set. Scoop it into a piping bag and squirt it into a hollowed out cupcake as filling! ;) YUM! Top it with white chocolate coconut swiss meringue buttercream (make a batch of vanilla Swiss-meringue buttercream and add 1/2 cup of the left over custard - or however much custard you want to flavor it). If you make these cupcakes, I promise you will have more friends! :) :)

And the most yummiest of carrot cakes filled with a no-bake cheesecake filling and topped with cream cheese swiss-meringue buttercream. You can find the recipe for this one on this post (click here) Divine! :)