To Party or not to Party

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some mababaw nanay problems. But believe you me mga muthers, I have been having sleepless nights just debating in my head whether Eli should have a party for his 2nd birthday.

Filipino tradition dictates (dictates talaga?! haha) that normally the bonggels parties are during the 1st and 7th birthdays, then followed by 18th (if girl) and 21st (if boy). But not for this mom. I just love parties! I just love the thrill and stress of it all.

But. But. But. Since I will be going 8th months preggers by the time November rolls in I cannot afford any stress. Also, financially speaking mas practical din not to have a party anymore because the money that we can save can go to just buying Eli wonderful stuff and some of it can go to my panganganak fund (read: pang-CS sa The Medical City).

However. However. However. This is the last year na Eli will be celebrating his birthday na he is still our only baby. And his exact birthday fell on a Sunday, so I took it as another sign from the high heavens.

Oh but the stress of guests not doing RSVP.

But the happiness of me choosing what Eli will wear for his party.

And what if it rains and no one goes?

Pero, I already found this really nice location where he can celebrate a low-key party.

But hubby is being oh-so-strict with the 'budget'.

Seeing our closest relatives and friends on that day will be fun though.

See I am ever so torn.

This mama is so confused.

Nevertheless, I love our son that I am sure of. Ultimately, the day is about him. I know whatever we decide on he's going to be happy anyway knowing he is loved by his mom and dad primarily and so many more.

Will keep you updated sisters. =)

Adventures in Baking: Red Velvet Cupcake (dry run)

Friday, September 7, 2012

My mama's birthday is on Sunday (I love you mama!). I plan to make her the moistest Chocolate cake with thick choco ganache and red velvet cupcakes. Between the two cakes I am more scared of the later. One can never go wrong with a chocolate cake. Slather anything with chocolate and it will automatically taste good.

Thing is cupcakes are so dainty. And I am far from dainty. And I am bit nervous, as this being only my fourth time to bake. (Super novice baker here!) Hence, I needed a dry run before my mom's actual birthday on Sunday.

As luck would have it, the cupcakes were a success. Judged by me. And because I can't go to Sonja's I brought Sonja's to me. (Lumi-level sa Sonja's promise. Hehe.)

Special thanks to my friends who sent their recipes Dits (mommy behind this awesone blog), Lia (she makes iCakes), and Oli. Ultimately, I followed recipe from Joy of Baking.

What I loved about it:
- The cupcakes came out moist, although I tasted a hint of baking soda so for my second batch instead of 1/2 tsp. I will reduce it to 1/4.
- The frosting was not too sweet. Just enough blend of tangy-ness and sweetness. I will reduce the amount of cream though from 2/3 cups to just 1/3 because I found the frosting a bit runny.
- Among all the recipe's I've read this used the fewest amount of flour and sugar yet it still yielded to a perfect equal 12 portions of 3 oz. cupcakes.
- It was yummy. Enough said.

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I will reduce to 1/4 next time)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping (I will reduce to 1/3 next time)

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
2) In a large bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
3) In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
4) In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
5) In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
6) Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 - 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
7) Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1) In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
2) Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe.
3) Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Some pictures to show you:

Note - sorry for the crappy pictures. I am using a very old camera plus my lack of photography skills.

Some of the raw ingredients for the red velvet cake
(Hubby lovingly procured some of the ingredients for me from Sweetcraft)

Some of the raw ingredients for the cream cheese frosting
(Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before whipping)

Le tools =)
(Nothing fancy there.)

The red velvet batter. So RED!
(do not over mix or you'll end up with bread instead of cake)

See I am a very messy baker.
(Kevs, di na halata pag naluto na.)

The frosting, a bit on the runny side. But very yummy!

Didn't get to take much pictures of the finished product because
my son was in a hurry to eat all of them. =)