Today I turn 33.
So I’ve spent some time trying to figure out what I’ve learned in 33 years and some things I need to keep in mind.
Also I made cupcakes.
#1- I need to remember that life is not a race. Sometimes it is easy for me to get caught up in milestones– markers of achievement that I feel sure I should have checked off my list by now. Comparison is a soul-crusher. And I need to keep in mind that I am ME… nothing to compare that to. Same goes for you. And everybody! Own it.
#2- It is completely fine to sing very loudly in the car. Everyone sounds amazing in the confines of a vehicle. Seatbelts also make for most excellent dancers. And no one can see you through the windows unless you are at a stoplight. #science. We are all on our own roads and mine tends to be a little bumpy so I am determined to make it as fun as possible.
#3- LOVE. Have lots of it. For everyone and everything. All the time.
#4- It is part of my genetic makeup to run into things, trip over things, drop stuff, and spill.
#5- Make the most of it.
Don’t be intimidated by the basil cream cheese frosting!!! These are kid friendly and I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Basil and strawberries compliment each other like the best of friends. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth and I would NEVER post substandard goodies! But. If you aren’t feeling adventurous, leave out the basil & heavy cream and just make a basic cream cheese frosting. Strawberries and cream are good friends, too.
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool (see note)
- 2½ cups chopped fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons flour (all purpose or more cake flour)
- Whipped Basil Cream Cheese Frosting:
- ½ cup heavy cream or milk
- ½ cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Sprinkles, Basil Leaves, and Sliced Strawberries to decorate!!
- Whisk together the milk, egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 2¼ cups cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and drop them into the flour mixture.
- Using a hand (or stand) mixer, mix the butter into the flour mixture on low speed for a couple of minutes until coarse crumbs form. **If you don't have any kind of mixer, use my favorite method for cutting in butter-- use COLD butter and grate it into the flour blend using a box grater. You can use a fork or your hands to blend the flour + butter and form the coarse crumbs**
- Beat the egg/milk mixture with a fork one more time and pour all but ½ cup of the liquid into the flour mixture. Beat at medium speed fot about 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the last ½ cup of liquid, and mix on medium for another minute.
- Toss the strawberries with the 2 tablespoons flour. Fold them into the cake batter.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups (I use a ¼ dry measuring cup to dip the batter) and bake for 18-22 minutes. A pick inserted in the center should come out clean and the tops should be golden.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, heat the cream over medium/low heat until it just simmers. Add the basil and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently so the cream (or milk) doesn't burn. Most of the liquid will evaporate and you'll have a little liquid and a pan full of milky herbs. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree.
- In a large bowl beat the softened cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the basil/cream blend and beat until it's completely incorporated. You can add more sugar to thicken if necessary.
- Frost the cupcakes and decorate with the sprinkles, basil leaves, and sliced strawberries
The white cake portion of this recipe is from The Perfect White Cake recipe by Amanda at i am baker. If you aren’t familiar with Amanda’s blog, first of all– where have you been?! And second please take a minute to go see all the insanely creative, beautiful desserts and cakes she has to offer.