On Friday the forecast called for sunny and 72 for Memorial Day. They were very much wrong, but we didn't know that and went ahead and planned a party for Manny's Very Nearly Half Birthday. We didn't have a party for his first birthday and I knew that I would grow to rue the day I made the decision to skip the for real celebration. We declared it a Birthday Reenactment (just like the moon landing!).
I am among the precious few people in this town who could pretty much take or leave cupcakes. I mean... I don't know... I don't love cake. Or more accurately, I don't love frosting of any kind and when you're dealing with cupcakes, you have to deal with a goodly amount of frosting. I have baked the Gingerbread Cupcakes from the Craft of Baking book twice in the last two weeks, each time making them a day ahead and skipping the glaze for piped whip cream and candied ginger. These are a Outstanding. They are rich, spicy (combo of coffee, molasses, stout beer and a list of spices), and minus the whip cream they are dairy free. OUTSTANDING, I tell you.
We also had Rhubarb Lemon Bundt Cake (minus the rhubarb, and add in some barely ripe strawberries which ended up tasting like rhubarb, dontchaknow). Solid Favourite. The Rustic Fruits book has taken up permanent residence on the counter as we make our way into berry season.
I am still very much appreciating the Test Kitchen book. Sam and I made these chocolate cupcakes (with ganache for icing) for a party and they did not disappoint. I have made loads of Test Kitchen recipes the last few years and they always come out the way they are supposed to. The best bit of this book (for me) is that they take into account that recipes-- especially classic recipes-- are entirely subjective. So they give you three different choices for brownies: fudgey, cakey, and somewhere in between the two. They take potato salads and things like roast beef very, very seriously. In other words, they care so you don't have to.
I am glad that party season is upon us. I plan on taking advantage of Any Reason At All to bust out the evites and beer. You have officially been put on notice, People. Happy unBirthday sweet child.