This past week was “Adam’s Birthday Week.” Somehow his birthday lasted four days 😉 Although, I declare June my entire Birth-month. So I guess it’s ok =)
Adam’s birthday was on Thursday, and it was also his last final for his third year for electrical, as I mentioned in my post about our new house, Needless to say there was much to be celebrated on that day. In the afternoon once I was home, Adam’s sister had come over for a visit with our beautiful new niece. We got to hug, cuddle, kiss and awe over her for a few hours. She is just so precious!
The night before, I had made Adam some ‘birthday cookies.‘ He said they were like the top of a cupcake, they were pillowy soft. I had to add some sprinkles to them, of course, to make them a little more special. I used Martha Stewart’s Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies recipe. It reminded me of my favourite show, Seinfeld, when Elaine goes into business selling muffin tops. These would be great for any day, even when it is not a birthday.
So, Adam thought we were going to his parents for his birthday dinner. Usually when there is a birthday in his family we have a birthday dinner at his parents house. However, I thought it would be nice to go out and celebrate seeing as how it was a double-whammy celebration that day. And, he had received 100% on one of his final tests earlier that week.
Coincidentally, I had seen a Groupon the week or two prior to a restaurant that I had recently read a review for, as it was part of the very popular Dine Out Vancouver event. Carmichael’s, located in the Hilton Vancouver hotel. I knew it would be good, so I bought a Groupon and phoned up his mom to ask her to join us.
When we left the house, I was slightly dressed up, in a dress and high heels, and Adam was pretty casual. It’s not unusual for me to dress up, but I had mentioned to him “oh, maybe we will go for a drink and dessert afterwards somewhere.” He thought we were only going to his parents, so I let him think we were. I secretly packed his dress shoes and a change of clothes for him to slip into once we arrive at their house. When we walked in, he did ask his mom why she was so dressed up. I let him in on the secret that we were not staying in for dinner, and that he should go and change, handing him the bag of clothes I secretly packed.
He was surprised, and still didn’t know where we were going. When we arrived, the restaurant was sparse, as it was a Thursday evening, but it was nice to not be in a crowded loud restaurant. We all ordered different dishes, and each was delicious. His mom had the special, a pork chop with apple chutney, mashed potatoes and a reduction with asparagus I believe. She said it was so good, and the pork chop was gigantic, she shared with his dad. His dad had the prawn and chicken linguine, also very delicious, I (swaying from my diet, and lusting after ravioli since our sampling from a Costco trip the weekend before) ordered the squash ravioli – yum. Adam, the birthday boy, had a steak. His favourite, the filet mignon was was perfectly cooked and so tender. It was a great night out.
Side note – our first four dates Adam ordered a steak, and remarked to me that “you’re going to think all I eat is steak” (which was basically true, since he doesn’t cook 😉 ). I’d like to think his palate is MUCH more developed since I moved in. This boy did not eat anything when he was younger, pasta – no sauce, disliked onions, didn’t eat stuffing etc etc. I’ve heard many stories from his mom. Which is the opposite of my childhood, where my Dad sauteed liver and onions, we had whole lambs hanging out in the garage, and we ate chicken hearts with rice and parmesan cheese. Obviously you must know by now I have a love of food. All foods. There are no options in my kitchen, unfortunately, and he learned to love many new foods. Including, mussels. I know.
But, I digress. The birthday boy’s week continued, with Saturday night’s party. I had invited about 12 of our friends over for dinner. I made a giant pot of slow cooker pulled pork – my first time, and it was a huge success. I used this recipe, which worked perfeclty. I did double/triple the sauce as I had four small/medium pork roasts in one slow cooker. I got all the fixings for fajitas, guac, salsa, cheese, sour cream, black beans, lettuce, etc. and we all had a mexican themed dinner. It was very delicious. We will be eating pulled pork for days.
This has become a long winded post, but on to the cupcakes. I had seen this post by one of my cake idols, and sweet blog addiction, Sweetapolita, the queen of all pretty cake delicacies.
I knew I wanted to make them, because 1. They had Nutella ‘Cloud’ frosting, and 2. They were covered in sprinkles. I love a good yellow birthday cake, and so created the vanilla version of the cupcakes for our dinner party. I had made Adam’s sister as another ‘baby meal’ packaged it up, and gave them four cupcakes as well. Apparently they were eaten two-by-two. And I needed to include more next time 😉 Everyone loved this frosting, it truly is like a cloud, not heavy, not overly sweet and a perfect component for the yellow cake base.
And to end the birthday week, we did have a birthday dinner at his parents Sunday night, with his sister and brother-in-law, along with our sweet little niece. Adam requested a Birthday Pie, as he did last year. Apple pie is his favourite. I was told the pie was a close replica to their grandmothers. A lovely compliment, as we know grandmother’s make the best pies.
Cookies, Cake and Pie. I’d say he had a good birthday. Oh, and I bought him a video game.. though I may regret that one.
Simple Birthday Cupcakes
Sometimes simple is good. No fanciness, no fondant decorations. Just good old fashioned birthday cake.
Yellow Butter Cake
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
● 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
● 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) *Don’t have cake flour? I recently made this cake with a recipe for it!*
● 1 tbsp. baking powder
● 1/2 tsp. salt
● 1 cup sugar
● 4 large eggs
● 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Divide batter between the cupcake liners, I use 1/4 cup to scoop them in. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden on top.
Let cool completely before frosting. Best served the day of.
Nutella Cloud Frosting
Recipe from Sweetapolita
Yield: Enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes (I frosted 24)
1 cup unsalted butter (227 grams/8 ounces/2 sticks), softened, but cool
1 cup (125 grams/4.5 ounces) icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (125 grams/4 ounces) premium bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup (100 grams/3.5 ounces) Nutella
1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk
1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed (I use #2 on my KitchenAid mixer) for about 1 minute.
2. Add vanilla, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my KitchenAid mixer) until smooth (about 2 minutes).
3. Add the Nutella and mlik and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
4. Brace yourself.