It’s the boy’s 13th birthday today, so of course I stayed up until the wee hours baking cupcakes (from scratch!) that he could take to school, cutting out letters to make a HAPPY BIRTHDAY bunting from my prettiest origami paper and blowing up balloons. Most of this was done in a failed attempt to distract myself that I am now the stepmom of a teenager. *shudder*
While I don’t want to even *think* about the sorts of shenanigans I was getting into at his age, I’m really enjoying watching him turn into a real little person. He shot up in height this year, plus dropped a few pounds from a pretty rigourous hockey schedule, so all of the baby fat in his cheeks has melted away. He looks less and less like a kid each week. He’s got girls phoning all the time. He’s allowed to hang out at the community centre to play soccer and eat pizza. And he still phones home almost everyday in that breathless I know I’m going to be in trouble for this way as he tests his boundaries, all of which have been absolutely fine, totally allowed and have become a running joke in our household.
the boy (breathless): pant pant pant So, um…I was just wondering…if, um…maybe…well, Daniel and Brad and Emily and Ryan are all hanging out the community centre after school because they’re, um…they’re doing a movie night and, um, well…I was just wondering if it was OK if I could come home at 7:30 instead of 7pm.
me: Uh, yeah dude. Whatever. Thanks for calling!
Pay no attention to the giant mound of laundry in the background. I swear I’m going to get it done today! We’re doing the big birthday party tomorrow and I imagine the mister and I will be cracking a bottle of wine when we get home. Spending an afternoon go-karting with 13 year old boys? Momma’s gonna need some quiet time people!
I’m still deciding on what recipe to use for the birthday cake tomorrow, but the cupcakes were a hit with the boy’s class. The frosting was absolutely delish – a recipe I found on Chowhound. The cupcakes weren’t nearly as good since I used whole wheat flour. I think I’d need to adjust the recipe a bit to add more oil or milk and/or take them out of the oven a bit sooner. They were still good, but definitely had a bit of a bread feel rather than that of super moist cupcake goodness.
Here’s the easy peasy frosting recipe I used (enough to healthily frost 36 cupcakes):
“I just made this today and have been making it for years, the only vanilla frosting I ever make. It’s a little unusual, but very, very good. I never make frosting with powdered sugar because I can taste the cornstarch in it and I dislike it intensely.
I think my grandmother got this from a cake decorating class, probably in the 50s or 60s.
Whisk together in a saucepan 5 Tbsp flour and a cup of milk. Cook over medium heat until starting to thicken and cook for a minute or two more– don’t let it get too thick or it will be too stiff when it cools. Turn into a flattish dish (like an old-fashioned soup plate) and let cool, stirring now and again. If the roux is lumpy when it cools, just press it through a fine sieve.
Beat together a cup of unsalted butter and a cup of granulated sugar until light (you really need an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for this). Beat in the cooled roux about two tablespoons at a time. As you beat and add the roux, the frosting turns creamy instead of grainy from the sugar (I don’t know how it does that! It’s like a small, wonderful miracle.). Add 1-2 tsp vanilla and beat some more until it’s light and creamy. Fantastic frosting. I filled and frosted a chocolate cake with it and put lots of coconut in the middle and all over the top and sides.”