But this year it seemed that cupcakes were in order.
Here's why. Both of them were allowed cupcakes as treats at their respective schools. Plus we live in military housing. In apartments. All the kids want a little piece of birthday action around here. So, of course, cupcakes are perfect for passing around the playground once school is out. When all was said and done, then, I ended up making 106 cupcakes. And I ate . . . well I won't tell you that number!
For Jonathan's eighth birthday he got traditional vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and colored sprinkles. Cute, huh?
My go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes has traditionally been Cook's Illustrated's version. But I can't say I was thrilled with them this time around. They do seem to get a bit dry if not eaten right away. So, I'm still on the search for a great vanilla cupcake. Any suggestions?
Adam's cupcakes, though, were very different.
They were actually homemade chocolate cookies stacked with whipped cream. Tiny little icebox cakes. With, of course, sprinkles! I think they came out perfectly. And they were great because they actually taste better the longer they sit in the refrigerator!
Thank goodness we are done with birthdays for a while. Mine's next. But it's not 'til July. Plenty of time to dream up some more cupcake yumminess!
Adam's Icebox Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Turn off mixer. Add flour/cocoa mixture and gently turn on mixer to low, being careful that the dry ingredients don't billow all over the place. (Although, despite your best efforts, you WILL end up with flour and cocoa powder all over your counter and self.) Mix until just combined.
2. Divide dough into four equal pieces. Shape into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one disc at a time, roll out dough onto a well-floured work surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of dough. Gather, reroll, and cut more circles until you can't cut any more. Place circles onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. You can tell they are done when they are no longer puffy. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (You can make the cookies up to a week ahead of time. Just store them in an airtight container.)
4. Beat cream and powdered sugar together with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
5. Spoon about a scant tablespoon of whipped cream onto the top of a cookie. Place a cookie on top and gently press it down to make a "sandwich." Dollop another bit of whipped cream onto the top of the "sandwich." Place a cookie gently atop that. Finally, spread another teaspoon of whipped cream on the very top. You should have a total of three cookies and three layers of whipped cream. Place in a pretty cupcake paper. Repeat with all the cookies. Refrigerate overnight.
6. Before serving decorate with sprinkles or decorative toothpicks. Enjoy! Makes about 46.