Happiness Project #35: Pink Lemonade Birthday Cupcakes!

Image“One year ago, on March 8th, at 10:36am, a Miracle changed my life in the best of ways. And at long last, this Warrior heart of mine became whole. Everything I had ever believed to be good and true and beautiful in this world, came in the form of ten little fingers, ten little toes, two rosy cheeks and one button nose. She, who was, and is still this Angel of mine. And every day since then, the brightness of her smile lifts me up, the music of her laughter brings me joy and the warmth of her embrace enwraps my heart in wonder. In ways I could never imagine before, this beautiful, mischievous brown eyed Sweet Pea, gave to me the most precious gift a mortal could ever be blessed with. The gift of Motherhood. The gift of Meaning. The gift of Love. And with every beat of my heart and every fiber of my being, I give thanks for the Miracle of my Baby Girl. She, who is my everything. She, who is my world. Always & Forever.”

Two days ago, my Baby Girl officially became a walking, babbling, contagiously charming Toddler! A Toddler! Something I’m still having a difficult time wrapping my head around! Don’t mind me while I get a little teary eyed at this. Considering that my Sweet Pea is not only my only child but also the light of my life, I was determined to give her the best & yummiest of all 1st birthdays! Which meant showering her with the one thing that I do best; baking. A LOT of baking. Incorporating all of my favorite flavors: chocolate, lemon and vanilla. So after brainstorming a rather exhaustive dessert menu, incorporating HER favorite thing as well, meaning bath-time, I decided that in combination with lemon duck sugar cookies, rainbow cake truffles and chocolate covered strawberries, I wanted to create a special cupcake just for her. A cupcake that represented everything that I love most about my baby girl’s loving, tenacious and incredibly mischievous personality. A cupcake that everyone would love. So what cupcake is it, you ask? A Pink Lemonade Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting! The perfect blend of sweetness and beauty. The perfect blend of happiness and love. In a baked treat, that is. 

After scouring the internet for recipe suggestions and then botching an entire batch (after following what I had sadly mistaken to be a a good recipe) , I realized that the only way to create perfection was to strip it all down to the basics and do what I had learned most important in Pastry School. Which meant doing it the French way. Which, in my opinion, is truly the best way. So here it is, my friends. My Baby Girl’s Pink Lemonade Birthday Cupcake! From my heart to yours…

*Break out that dusty kitchen scale and set it to measuring it’s weight by grams! You will need it for this one!

180 grams egg whites

320 grams whole milk

1/2 cup pink lemonade powder

400 grams cake flour, sifted (NOT all-purpose flour!)

400 grams granulated sugar

6 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

226 grams unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs whites, milk and pink lemonade powder. Mix. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on a stand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder & salt and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes at low speed to blend. Add in the softened butter and 1/3 of the egg white/milk/lemonade mixture. Mix at low speed until the batter gathers together into a moist paste. Beat at medium speed for 1-1/2 minutes to develop structure. *Use a stopwatch or timer for accuracy* Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl. This will guarantee a smoother finished batter.

Beat in the rest of the egg white/milk/lemonade mixture in 3 batches, beating for exactly 20 seconds after each addition. *Use a stopwatch or timer for accuracy* Do not over mix or the batter will deflate and your cupcakes will not rise correctly.

Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly between both cupcake pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, inserting a toothpick, if need be, to check for proper dryness. Do not fret that the top of your cupcakes are not pushed up in the center like a dome. The use of cake flour creates a flat baked surface because of it’s particular density. Cool the cupcakes throughly on a wire rack before frosting.

Ready for some yummy Lemon Frosting? You should be! Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

pinch of kosher salt

1 tablespoon lemon extract

3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, on a stand mixture, cream the butter for 3 to 4 minutes at medium speed. Drop the mixer speed down to it’s lowest setting and add slowly add in 4 cups of powdered sugar. Once the sugar has been completely incorporated with the butter, beat in the salt, lemon extract and 3 to 4 tablespoons of cream. Whip on high for 3 to 4 minutes until the frosting reaches your preferred texture. If you’re planning on piping on the frosting and the consistency is too soft, cover and chill in the fridge for a few minutes.

Frost, frost, frost away (and maybe add some pink sprinkles on top for a little extra sparkle!)

These adorable duckling cupcake toppers were created by the brilliant T-Cakes Franklin! You can find her on Facebook under T-Cakes Franklin.

So from this Stealthy Kitchen Mama to you & yours, may every day be filled with a little bit of sweetness and a whole lot of love. Birthdays or not.

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