A few years ago I was walking down the hall at work on St. Patrick’s Day, and I ran into my boss. He said “You are in so much trouble.” Then he paused. In that split second pause, I ran through a list of things in my head that he might be talking about. What had I done that I … Read More
I’ve never been a fan of beach vacations. My pale Irish skin hates the sun, I don’t like swimsuits, and I hate sweating. We have always taken ski vacations in the winter, and even our honeymoon was to Maine in the fall. But when we got the chance to take a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands, I knew … Read More
While I don’t have room in my back yard for a vegetable garden (or the green thumb for it), I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful farmer’s market just a few blocks from my house every Saturday. It’s one of the best farmer’s markets in the area, with just about anything you could want. Local produce, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked … Read More
Sure, these aren’t my usual cakes or cupcakes, but a girl has to eat breakfast, too. We had friends staying with us over Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to serve brunch the morning after they arrived. Serving breakfast or brunch for a group is one of those things that can be as easy or as difficult as you make … Read More
There are so many people in my husband’s family (including my husband) that have birthdays in July, that they have a big combined celebration each year. We go to his aunt and uncle’s house on a lake, where people can kayak, fish, and enjoy the scenery. His uncle cooks some normal food, and then insists on adding something a little … Read More
There is a great restaurant in Columbus called Cap City Diner where my best friend and I like to have happy hour. They are known for several fabulous dishes, not least of which is the Seriously Big Chocolate Cake. It’s big. Seriously big. I’ve shared this cake with five other people and still not finished it.
After happy hour there, my friend also likes to order a piece to go so she can have chocolate cake for her hangover breakfast. Genius.
My good friend Stefanie turned
the big 30 22-years old again last week, and her husband asked me to make a cake and some cupcakes for her pseudo-surprise party. She loves coconut, so I set out to make a seriously coconut cake.
I promise this story is actually related to the cupcakes.
For as long as we have known each other, my husband and I have talked about someday retiring to Maine and having a sailboat. Despite having never actually been on a sailboat. So last year I signed us both up for sailing lessons for his birthday. Next thing I know we own a small boat, and belong to a sailing club. In inland Ohio – strange, I know.
Our instructor offered to show us how to rig up our new boat, so we scheduled a time to meet him at the club. He helped us set her up, and introduced us to Peter, another member (and officer) of the club who happened to be there. Once the boat was ready to go, we figured we should go sailing.
A few weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that I had been enlisted to make a cake and cupcakes for a birthday party, which resulted in a longer discussion about my my penchant for baking. He asked if I ever made whipped cream frosting, and I told him that I have, but that I generally prefer to use an Italian meringue buttercream. The rest of the conversation went something like this:
“I don’t like buttercream.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do. You’ve just only had American buttercream. And American buttercream doesn’t count.”
So the following week I brought him a chocolate cupcake with Italian meringue buttercream, along with a small tub of extra frosting just in case. Then I watched as he not only ate the cupcake, but continued to scoop extra frosting out of the tub with each bite. He was amazed. Not only does he not hate buttercream, but this buttercream warranted joyous exclamations and enthusiastic comparisons to more…carnal pleasures.
Years ago, before I knew about the various types of buttercream frosting, I still got complements on cupcakes with homemade American buttercream. Because anything is better than frosting from the grocery store shelf, or the grocery store bakery. But after making my first batch of meringue buttercream, I can never go back.
I have a confession to make. I am a wasteful cutter and peeler. I have no patience for carefully peeling away just enough skin on potatoes and carrots. And I don’t properly remove the hulls from strawberries. I just chop the tops off, wasting what I’m sure is perfectly good fruit. I’m going to order a strawberry huller right now … Read More