Birthday Bonanza and Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Yesterday, April 10th 2011, I turned 27. Yes, not much of a special age to celebrate, kind of in between my mid-twenties and the big 3-0 now, but alas, I am a huge fan of birthdays. No matter what age I turn, I fully intend on celebrating my birthday to the fullest. So, that’s exactly what I did!
First and Foremost…
I had a fabulous dinner at Talula’s Table last Thursday. For those of you who have never heard of this dining experience, it is definitely worth looking into. Talula’s Table is a cafe in Kennett Square by day, and by night a foodie’s dream come true! They host nightly Farm Table Dinners for your exclusive party of 8-12 guests, and to book a reservation for this V.I.P. treatment you have to call one year in advance to the date; which means that on April 7th, 2010 I woke up at 7am with their phone number on speed dial to ensure I was the very first call of the day. Miracle of Miracles, my birthday dinner was booked, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this meal for an entire year. The experience is pretty amazing. The lights were dimmed once the last cafe customers left, and my party of 10 close friends and my fantastic boyfriend Scott (thanks again for picking up the birthday girl’s tab!) sat around a large farmhouse table, where we were served glasses of wine (its a BYOB), delicious hors d’oeuvres, freshly baked bread and eight courses of very unique and mouthwatering delights. I’ve posted our menu below, as its just too complex to describe (not to mention it’s bound to make me drool onto my keyboard). I think my favorite courses were the Pain d’Espice with bacon and quail egg, and the homemade Mushroom Cannelloni.
Once our time was up, and our tummy’s were full, we were sent off each with a homemade Talula’s brownie or blondie in hand, and joyful (yet gastronomically exhausted) grins of on our face. I cannot wait until another of my friends books a reservation for this awesome experience again! I still have warm gooey feelings just thinking about it.
The second birthday celebration was a party I threw for myself. I wanted to theme it, yet have one that was simple enough that people would/could adhere to it, so I decided to make it themed around my favorite color: Blue. Easy enough, right? I planned my blue outfit, hit up the dollar store for all things blue (paper-goods, marshmallow peeps, glowsticks-naturally!), and pretty quickly thought up a great cupcake idea… Blue Velvet of course! I turned to my gal Paula Deen for a Red Velvet recipe I knew I could count on, and of course these cupcakes came out spectacular. I decided not to use her frosting recipe, although it sounds fabulous, and just stick with my basic cream cheese frosting stand-by. Aside from the frosting, making her 3-layer cake into cupcakes and swapping out blue for red food coloring, I used this recipe as-is.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 ounces red food coloring (or BLUE!)
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans (or two lined cupcake pans). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
- 1 Stick Butter, room temperature
- 1 8 ounce pack of Cream Cheese
- 4 Cups Confectioners Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar a cup at a time and beat well. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!!
Overall this birthday was fabulous! I can only hope that my 27th year is enjoyed just as well, surrounded by amazing friends, lovely shades of blue, and sprinkled with a good amount of sugar.