I mentioned it was Baby Strawberry's first birthday a couple of weeks ago (can you believe it?) We of course had lots of fun and lots of yummy food. With my little man, I had a big party at the house, fed everyone, made cute/high maintenance cupcakes, and loved it all! This time around (after another big birthday complete with Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes) I thought something simpler would be better. Since her birthday is right next to two of her cousins', we had an easy get together at the park with pizza and salads. I made vanilla bean and red velvet cupcakes that night and will post those next.
Then we decided to do a simple dinner, just my family and my "sister", and celebrate together. For dinner I made roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Kara brought cornbread and an amazing salad with locally made meyer lemon olive oil and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette! So I confess the simple dinner took a lot longer than I thought it would- it always does (big thanks to my mom for letting me mess up her kitchen all day and helping clean it all up!) But we all enjoyed it and Kara went into labor the next day, so I think the food did it's job!
For dessert I made Martha Stewart's Boston Cream Cupcakes. I'm not sure why I was crazing Boston Cream Pie (since I've never actually had it!) It probably has to do with my affinity to pastry cream. This recipe was very simple to make, just a ganache for the topping, a pastry cream for the filling, and a quick, easy cake. Baby loved it, of course (she has a huge sweet tooth!) There are three components to make but each is very simple and doesn't take much time. I worked on each them between other steps for dinner and didn't hardly notice the time to make these- don't be intimidated!
She even shared with her new baby that she wouldn't let go of for two days straight (baby is playing with her right now, actually, she was a hit!) It was a great birthday and totally worth all the dishes (especially since so many people helped out)! Happy birthday Baby Strawberry!)
Boston Cream Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry (recipe via Martha Stewart)
*note- My family has been (rightfully) accusing me of underbaking things so I tried to follow these directions exactly. However, I thought the cupcakes were just a minute overdone and a tiny bit dry for that reason, so I would be sure to remove them as soon they get a hint of color and their lovely smell wafts through your kitchen!
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold (just barely starting to color), about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream (I used more) on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.
*note- I prefer Dorie or Ina's pastry cream and will use my favorite "slightly lightened" version next time I make these.
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup