Lilli turned two on Sunday. We celebrated with cupcakes and an ice cream sundae bar at the Inside Playground down the road. Thankfully, the party was sandwiched in between two snowstorms, ensuring that the guests and grandparents from outside of Boston were still able to make it.
It’s been a while since I planned a party and I’d wanted to share how it turned out, like my friend Molly always does with her own awards show viewing parties. Of course, I forgot to snap photos of the sundae bar. Sorry about that. We bought a case of small, wide-mouthed jars from the local hardware store for a few dollars which will obviously now be used for canning things. Then I filled the jars with candies like M&Ms, chocolate chips, jelly beans, crushed Oreo cookies, and mini York Peppermint Patties. Next to the jars I placed cut up strawberries and bananas, fresh homemade whipped cream, hot fudge, salted caramel sauce, marshmallow topping and a jar of cherries.
After consulting with mommies at work, I decided to forgo a fancy bakery cake for Lilli and just buy some mini cupcakes from the grocery store. As it turned out, the bakery at the market couldn’t guarantee they would have enough, if any, in stock that Sunday morning, so Lilli and I donned our aprons and got to work in the kitchen. We have weekly baking projects, although most of her participation ends with me sweeping flour and sugar off the kitchen floor. Papa and Grammy got her a Kitchen Helper for Christmas which is nice because I was always a little nervous about her slipping off a dining room chair.
I was sent Hello Cupcake! years ago to review, but hadn’t found the right moment to dive into the recipes in it until I needed to bake these birthday cupcakes. If it had been a birthday party for me, I probably would have gone with the sweet potato cupcakes with cream cheese frosting or saffron cupcakes. And if nuts weren’t an issue, Lilli would have loved the Nutella cupcakes. We settled on the “Classic cupcakes” recipe, which had a nice lemony base and a cream cheese frosting.
The author is British and the recipe is measured in weights, so get out your kitchen scale. The recipe says it makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes, but it made 48 mini-cupcakes, more than enough for the party. The smaller cakes took about 13 minutes to bake. I think the frosting was a bit too sweet, but I think that’s because I had a little slip up with weighing out the sugar. Many of the guests thought it was divine, but that’s just my two cents.
Classic Cupcakes from Hello Cupcake! by Leila Lindholm
250 grams (9 oz) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g (3 ½ oz) butter
100 ml (3 ½ fl oz) milk
350 g (12 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
Grated peel and juice from 1 lemon
Cream Cheese Frosting
60 g (2 oz) softened butter
500 g (17 ½ oz) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
100 g (3 ½ oz) cream cheese
Sprinkles or flowers, for garnish
Preheat oven to 345F (175C)
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until white and really fluffy.
Melt the butter, add the milk and mix this into the eggs.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt and carefully fold into the other ingredients until combined.
Mix in the grated peel and juice from one lemon.
Set out paper cups in a muffin tin and fill the cups until two-thirds full with the mixture.
Bake them in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes. Once they cool a little, move them to a cooling rack to cool down.
Mix the butter, icing sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and cream cheese until creamy.
Spread the frosting on the cakes and garnish with sprinkles or flowers.