The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

A "Job"

I was commissioned for my first "job" on Friday. My very dear friend asked me to make two dozen cupcakes for a party on Monday. Confetti cupcakes, to be precise. Frosting up to me.

Not having a confetti cupcake recipe, nor even a white/yellow cake recipe to start with, I hit the internet. The first recipe I tried was a bust. The flavor was slightly off and the texture was waaaaaay off. Bummer.

So, my dear husby recommended I try the America's Test Kitchen website. I found a basic yellow cake recipe, conferred with Joy of Cooking to make sure a cake is a cake no matter what size pan you bake it in, and set to work on round two. The recipe was just complicated enough to make it worth the effort (if it's really no different from the dump-and-mix of a box, what's the point really?), and the effect was perfect-o!

On to the frosting. Good ol' World's Best Frosting never lets me down. It's perfect with everything and I simply adore it. Unfortunately, it's a secret recipe and so, sadly for you, I cannot publish it for all the world to see. You'll just have to make friends with me. And, of course, make me an offer I can't refuse. There are a select few out there who have wheedled it out of me.

But I digress. The party is a going-away send off for a staff member of our church. Somehow sunny yellow seemed the way to go (saying goodbye can be filled with mixed emotions, but cupcakes must always be happy). I was aiming for "smiley face yellow" (if you knew the guest of honor, you'd know there's really no other option) but landed somewhere in the range of Peep yellow instead. Oh well. Still cute. For the finishing touch (as Punk would say with flair), confetti cupcakes would be embarrassingly naked without sprinkles. Jimmies seemed too. . . childhood sundae, so I used nonpareils (had to check the spelling on that one) to bring the elegance up to adult standards (is that snickering I hear? Unfortunately, I cannot explain how I became a sprinkle-snob, nor how I came to the conclusion that teeny-tiny brightly-colored sugar balls are more adult than elongated brightly-colored sugar rods). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that using the decorators' tip created little ridges for the nonpareils to cling to. I only wish I had thought of it instead of stumbled upon it. Anyway, I think these little beauts are just the thing!

Oh, yes. I can give you the cake recipe, since it is already available for free on the wonderful world wide web!

America's Test Kitchen's Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake

Makes two 9-inch cake layers or 24 cupcakes
Nonstick cooking spray can be used for greasing the pans (proceed with flouring as directed). Bring all ingredients to room temperature before beginning.
2 1/2 cups cake flour , plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk , room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks , room temperature
3 large egg whites , room temperature
1/4 cup rainbow jimmies, if making confetti cake

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. (Or, for cupcakes, simply line 24 wells in cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.)

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl.

3. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

4. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). (Just so you know, mine took FOREVER to become stiff peaks!) Transfer to bowl and set aside.

5. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

6. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites (and jimmies, if using) and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. (I had enough left for each of us to have a couple tasting spoons, but I think I could have filled the cavities a little bit more than I did and still come out alright.) Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

7. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. (Somehow 20 minutes worked perfectly for my cupcakes too.) Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours. (Of course, if you're making cupcakes, simply lift them out--and they won't take as long to cool either.)


My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

Talk To Me

I blog for myself and my kids and I would do it even if no one else cared, but I do like to hear from you (and think it's a wee bit creepy of you to voyeurize us without my knowing it). So, please leave a comment from time to time, or email me anytime at Much obliged, I'm sure.

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued