Sunday, August 1, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday...

So as the clock ticks into the wee hours of the 1st day of August I am overwhelmed by how many birthdays there are for my loved ones and friends this month. I mean like well over 10 people that are close to me will be celebrating their birth at some point in August. And I am not talking about Facebook or Myspace friends that I am "friends" with but have no contact with, I am talking people that I see and talk to pretty often. So this is my shout out to all of my special people and anyone else who is celebrating a birthday! Happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleanos, Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Hau`oli la hanau! I hope you eat lots of cake and if you are really lucky it will be a cake that someone special has made for you.
One special person that is celebrating a birthday this month is my mother in law Pam. I have been truly blessed to have this awesome woman in my life and I decided that I wanted to make her something extra special for her birthday. Not just any old cake would do. My inspiration came from an Amish bakery/store close to my home that sells some addicting brown butter cookies. These cookies are Pam's favorites so I wanted to turn them into a cake. The only problem is the closest recipe I found is in metric measurements. So after using my awesome brain and the Internet I made some of the yummiest cupcakes. I found that it is actually the icing that makes this recipe because the cake part was not extremely impressive. You could put this icing on a pumpkin cake, spice cake or a rum cake (like a hot buttered rum cupcake!!! Oh man I have to really try to make something like this) and it would be delicious. I will warn you in advance....get ready to feel greasy. I had butter everywhere. I must have even spilt a little at one point because I slid across my floor. The mess is worth it. The flavor is rich, nutty and reminiscent of toffee or a Werther's Original. I loved them and most importantly Pam loved them. Success!!

Brown Butter Cupcakes with Brown Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 400F. First off is burning the butter: place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir constantly until it turns a dark golden color (3-5 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and strain into a bowl (to separate from the sediment). Let the butter sit until it solidifies, but is still a little soft. (This took almost 30 minutes because it’s hot here; if hot out, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes).
When the butter is solid, yet soft, place in a food processor along with ALL cupcake ingredients except milk. Blitz! Add milk slowly and pulse till well-mixed. Divide among 12 cupcake papers and bake for 15-20 minutes.

1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 2/3 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk

Do the same thing with the butter that you did above for the cake. Once it’s in the solid/soft state, beat it along with 1/2 of the sugar until stiff. Add tbsps of milk and the rest of the sugar alternately. Then add the vanilla. Enjoy!

Listening To:
Snow Patrol-Chocolate
Kings of Leon-Pistol Of Fire
Vampire Weekend-Diplomat's Son

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