Mushy maternal things aside, there was a baby shower for her, & I was asked to bring the cupcakes. I guess people found out I like to bake . . .
Please note the small stuff moose (mooses? meese? meeses? sure.) in the background of the picture. In that moment, I wanted a child to have an excuse to take one home.
BUTTONS!!! (I'm sorry I yelled at you via caps lock.)
They turned out cute, as well as delicious. And they were a hit, which of course is ridiculously heartwarming.
Also heartwarming? Being in a new place, and being so incredibly welcomed by the people around you. Not fake, which is painfully common among us humans, but a community of genuine people.
Truth time? Even as a grown-up, I get nervous making new friends. Wanting to make excuses, bail out, & hole up with my husband instead, or gathering the nerves to go, but get shy & pick at my nails (nervous habit) the whole time.
It's nice to be with people who don't expect you to be anyone but you. Feels like home.
So, to those people, I say a big thank you for your hearts and your spirits. I am thankful for you.
And you? Reader? I'm thankful for you as well. For being a part of this slice of my life. And being here with me.
Simple Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup [1 stick] unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcakes pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, & salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (If you have a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment and cream the butter & sugar for 3-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract until well incorporated.
Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until almost incorporated. Add the milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until almost incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.
Divide the batter between the cupcake liners. bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the cupcakes come out clean.
Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Classic Buttercream Frosting
1 cup [2 sticks] unsalted butter, softened but still holding its shape
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons milk
pinch of sea salt
In a large bowl, beat butter for 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy (again, if you have a stand mixer for this step, more power to ya! It'll take about 2 minutes).
Scrape the butter from the sides of the bowl and add three cups of the powdered sugar. Beat on low, increasing to medium speed as the mixture combines (unless you desire to wear the powdered sugar on your person. In this case, high is the preferred speed). Add milk and vanilla extract. Beat on high for 1 minute.
Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add one more cup powdered sugar. beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. If you'd like a thicker frosting, add up to a cup more powdered sugar, beating well. Frost completely cooled cupcakes (or cakes).
Frosting with last, in an airtight container, for 10 days in the refrigerator.
Source: adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook
Listening to: Timothy Keller podcast
The chocolate cupcake recipe was taken from here.