Celebrating Mother’s Day should not be a complex or crazy-day making. It ought to be uncomplicated and a piece of cake. Or in this case, a piece of cup-cake. A simple gesture is often the most elegant.
I’d much rather have a bouquet of wild flowers with various weed like things than some fancy schmancy really expensive flower arrangement. While I’m a big fan of gawking at chocolates that cost more than a mortgage, I’m really happy with a few small affordable ScharffenBerger squares.
Instead of a fancy buttoned up French Laundry kind of dinner, give me an endless supply of clams steamed in a little wine and herbs. And a glass of wine to keep it company.
Don’t bother with some fancy brunch because I’ll probably want to go in my pajamas. Skip the breakfast thing in bed because that means the kitchen is one unholy mess and guess who will end up with clean-up in aisle what-were-you-thinking?
Skip the pressure. Keep the money in your pocket. Make life uncomplicated.
Make really simple vanilla cupcakes. The vanilla bean paste is a little bit of an extravagance but it stretches a long way and tastes really great. The tiny little chocolate espresso bean on top makes it feel like you are having a cup of espresso with your vanilla cupcake. It is a terrific combination. What? You thought I’d skip the chance to use a bit of chocolate?
Have a swell mom’s day and to all my comrades in motherhood – may the cupcake be by your side, now and always.
|Vanilla Swiss Cupcakes, Gluten Free||
- 170 grams superfine sugar (a heaping ¾ cup)
- 130 grams unsalted butter, barely room temperature (9 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon Bourbon Whiskey
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 172 grams GF flour (about 1⅓ cups) (86 g superfine brown rice flour, 43 g each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 113 grams full fat sour cream, stirred (about ½ cup)
- 4 extra-large egg whites
- 200 grams superfine sugar (1 cup)
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 285 grams very soft unsalted butter (2.5 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean, scraped
- dark chocolate covered espresso beans
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a tin with cupcake liners (12-14). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter with flavorings until light and fluffy. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time. In a separate small bowl, weigh flours and add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to incorporate. Add all at once and mix on low until all the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated. Stir the sour cream until it is smooth and add to the mixture. Mix on medium for about another full minute scraping the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. Remove from the stand mixer and fold to make sure everything is well mixed. Scoop into cupcake liners about ⅔ full. Bake about 15-18 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out without crumbs. Cool for a minute in the pan and then remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
- In the top of a double boiler whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar and salt until the mixture turns white and the temperature reaches 160 degrees. It should only take a few minutes. Remove and pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on medium and then high, whipping the egg whites until they become both cooler and get to glossy peaks – think snow-white mountain tops. Feel the bottom of the bowl – if you can rest your hand on it easily, it is ready for the butter. Keep letting it cool off otherwise. Change to the paddle attachment. Take the very very soft butter and drop pieces into the mixer while it is running on slow-medium. Add in the butter a piece at a time until it is gone and continue running the mixer at the same speed. Once all the butter is in, turn the mixer up a bit and keep going. The buttercream will probably look pretty awful – it might seem curdled or wrecked. Don’t fret. Just keep going with the mixer on a pretty high-speed. It’ll come together soon. You can hear the change before you see the change. It goes from sounding sloshy and sad to more like a helicopter thump thump. At that point, lower the speed and add the vanilla. Then whip it on high until you like the way it looks – about a half-minute more or so.
- It can be slathered on with a spatula but it looks best, and more smooth if it is piped. You can rig up a piping bag using a ziplock with a tiny slit in a corner if you want. If the buttercream seems to very soft, set the cupcakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature but store overnight in the refrigerator. You’ll have leftover buttercream. Store in the refrigerator or the freezer for longer term.