Cupcakes for Jeremie

Jeremie's Birthday Cupcakes

I take birthdays very seriously. I wanted to make a nice birthday treat for Jeremie to have with his friends at the office but I wasn’t quite sure what to make. At first I was thinking layer cake, but I thought it would need to feed a lot of people and making a big enough cake would be difficult to transport. Who knew that we’d have a snowstorm on March 1? So then I started thinking about cupcakes. The one downside of cupcakes, in my thinking, is that there’s no great way to write “Happy Birthday Jeremie” on them. Then a couple of days ago, the little cookie idea came to me.

Jeremie's Birthday cupcakes

I was going to make a yellow cake recipe from Baking Illustrated, but there were two things about it that I wasn’t thrilled about: 1) it calls for a lot of butter, and 2) the recipe only makes 12 cupcakes and I didn’t want to double it, never having made this recipe. A last minute conversation with Jodie steered me towards Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook which I had forgotten to check for a recipe. I decided to go with her yellow butter cake recipe. It made 42 cupcakes, which is a lot, but we brought about 30 in to the office and I can pop the rest in the freezer. I used Martha’s recipe for easy chocolate buttercream, but I used more cocoa and about a tablespoon of heavy cream to help it all come together. I baked the cupcakes the day before but I didn’t pipe the frosting on until just before leaving the house.

For the little cookies, I used my Mom’s recipe for Hanukkah cookies, a tried and true winner when you need a frostable cookie.

Frostable (Hanukkah) Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Beat.
Add dry ingredients. Add liquids. If dough is a
little wet, add more flour. Roll out on floured
board. Bake at 375 for 6-10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets.
Makes 5-6 dozen.

Because I made such little circles, I baked at 350 for 5 minutes and I always use a silpat.

Was this time consuming? Yes.
Are they delicious? Yes.
Worth it? Oh totally.

A PSA: I realized I didn’t have enough powdered sugar for the frosting at 10:30 on a Sunday night in a snowstorm. Not good. I checked the internet and found several suggestions on how to make your own powdered sugar. The gist of the stories is: combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a coffee grinder or food processor, whirl for a minute or so and voila, powdered sugar. Well, let me tell you, what I got was indeed powderier than granulated sugar but it sure wasn’t powdered sugar. I added some more cornstarch and whirled again, but no dice. I used it in making the buttercream frosting because I was out of options. The frosting was tasty but grainy, as you would expect when using granulated sugar. So, if you run out of powdered sugar I do not recommend trying to make your own at home. Maybe it would be passable if you’re making cookies or something baked, but it doesn’t cut it for frosting.

That is what I get for not checking my staples. Now I’m out of granulated sugar.

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