It is most unfortunate that I have really done my arm/shoulder in. Sometimes this whole RA thing is most inconvenient. I really have to think hard before I attempt to do even the most simplest things. What really irritates me though, is that I take very strong medications that literally cost thousands of dollars and I still have to put up with crap like this. Not fun.
The only thing I can do with my limited range of movement is type and so, here I am. I am waiting patiently to hear if Ramadan ends tonight or not (depends on new moon sighting) and whether we celebrate Eid ul Fitr tomorrow. I really hope it’s tomorrow and not because I don’t want to fast another day, but because my hubby has taken tomorrow off. He has his company big wigs visiting and if Eid is on Wednesday, he may not be able to swap his days. If he can’t take a day off, I’ll be stuck at home doing chores and the children will be at school on Eid. I can hear the whining already.
In celebration of Eid, my son Laith is taking cupcakes to school to share with his little friends. His teacher is hoping he will speak a little about what Eid is but I suspect all he will remember is that Eid=presents. He has been hitting us up for a Captain America costume he discovered at Costco. I told him that he could buy it with the money he will get on Eid. So. for the last few weeks, the question has been, “How long till Eid?”
Coming back to the cupcakes, these little terrors are what caused my dud shoulder. I could have very easily bought cake mix and pre made icing, but since I don’t feed that junk to my children, I didn’t want to feed it to other children either. I set about, very enthusiastically, making a buttercream from scratch. Let’s face it, that’s the only thing six year olds really like about a cupcake. This said buttercream required some whisking over the stove top and I believe this is where my shoulder got done in. The enthusiasm had turned to cursing by the end of the evening. According to Laith and Sahare, the buttercream icing is divine so, I suppose the bent shoulder is somewhat worth it.
I researched a while for the actual cupcake recipe. I usually make little Victoria Sponge cupcakes or good old fairy cakes, but I didn’t want to invest stick loads of butter for children who probably wouldn’t do anything but lick the icing off. I wanted a recipe that made a light and fluffy, almost boxed mix like, cupcake that used oil. There were quite a few on the internet but for me, some weren’t usable because of my high altitude issues. Cake flour products don’t do well here at 5500 feet. The flour is too delicate to provide support and structure to a cake in a low air pressure environment.
I had to do some calculations and adjust a few recipes to make it work for me et voilà, I had me a pretty cupcake. It looked good but I was worried that it might not taste as rich as a butter fairy cake, however, the cupcake was not bad at all. It was very similar to a boxed cake mix but not as foam like. It was moist, light and airy and flavourful too. Definitely, suitable for six year olds (and 40 somethings too as I found out.)
The buttercream recipe comes from the ever reliable “Joy of Cooking.” I did not make any changes except add a bit of vanilla. It’s a bit time consuming and if you’d rather just open up a can of Betty Crocker, go for it. I was aiming for nice red icing, you know, festive, but when I added my colour, it turned pink instead of a vibrant red. Pink is one colour Laith won’t tolerate so then I added blue to make purple. Strange kid; he likes purple just fine, and that’s only because The Incredible Hulk wears purple pants. He might have really appreciated green cup cakes with purple icing but I thought they might look too weird for Eid! Anyway, that’s the story behind the purple buttercream.
These cupcake are really easy and quick to throw together because chances are, you will have all the stuff on hand to make them. Have a go and see what you think. The recipe I post below is for regular baking, not high altitude. If anyone wants the high altitude adjusted one, drop me an email or comment below. Makes 24 -30 cupcakes
2 1/2 cups/350g all purpose flour (preferably cake flour if you have it, 200g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups/400g sugar
3/4 cup/177ml oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup/250ml butter milk or (1 cup milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar added)
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F/ 175 deg C and prepare 2 12 hole muffin/cupcake pans with paper liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
Whisk the eggs, oil and sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add flour alternating with the butter milk, till everything is combined.
Add the vanilla and mix through.
Pour into prepared pans, filling only 2/3 full. Do not overfill for pretty cupcakes.
Bake 15 minutes and then turn pans around for even baking.
Bake another 5 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then place on rack to finish cooling.
Once cool, frost with buttercream or icing of choice.
1 cup/200g sugar
1/2 cup/120ml water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 sticks/339g butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar and cream of tartar to a boil. Stir to melt the sugar.
On medium heat, cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, uncover the pan, brush the sides of the pans with water to dissolve any sugar crystals.
Simmer until the mixture reaches 238 deg F/114 deg C on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage)
While the syrup is cooking, beat the 2 eggs until pale and creamy in a stainless steel bowl.
Put a fry pan/skillet onto the stove and bring about 1 inch of water to a constant simmer.
When the syrup is almost ready, beat the eggs again and once the syrup reaches the desired temperature,
pour the syrup very gently into eggs, dribbling from the sides of the bowl.
Place the bowl into the pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches a
temperature of 160 deg F/71 deg C
Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk the egg-sugar mixture till it has cooled to room temperature.
Once the mixture is cooled, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time.
If at any time the mixture looks too thin or soupy, put in the fridge to firm up a bit.
Keep adding the butter and whisking until the buttercream comes together and add the vanilla.
The buttercream can be refrigerated or frozen. You can warm in the microwave at 15 second intervals till it is soft and spreadable.
They do look pretty good, don’t they? If I do say so myself. I just delivered them to Laith’s school and the his teacher was all excited! Most importantly, I hope the younglings enjoy them.
If I don’t write tomorrow, I want to wish all my readers a very Happy Eid or Eid Mubarak, as we say. You don’t have to be Muslim for me to wish you peace and blessings of this season to you and your family. I pray that this Ramadan unites all the people of the world.
Have a wonderful week and thank you for reading!