Okay, well maybe it's not really ROYAL ................... but the good news does come all the way from England; London, to be precise, so I thought it just might qualify as Royal ............... After all everything else over there seems to be dubbed "Royal": the postal service, hospitals, concert halls, schools, opera houses, even the police ..........you name it, it's all quite Royal!
I haven't shared this on the blog, but my daughter, who lives in London, is expecting a baby in September. If you've been following The Café for very long, you probably know that she has three of the cutest, sweetest little girls you'd ever want to meet (I'm not a prejudiced grammy at all!). Whenever I'm with them, I love to share fun pictures or stories about them like this post or this one.
We love our little girls and have all grown very comfortable with the "girlie life". But the question everyone's been asking is, "Are they hoping for a boy?". Honestly, we've all been praying for a healthy baby and knew we'd be thrilled either way ......... but, I have to say, we couldn't wait for the big day when we would know for sure.
So, I'm going to tell you the wonderful news the way I found out a few weeks ago ................ It was the long anticipated day that my daughter was scheduled for her ultrasound. I was working around the house that day, listening for the phone and keeping an eye on my computer. Finally, I saw that there was an email from her...... My heart start beating faster and I quickly clicked ......... to find.............. a video.................. this video!
That's it! Is that not a terrible trick to pull on an old grammy and papa?!
After what seemed like hours (in reality, only minutes), I received another video.......... this video........................ and we've been celebrating ever since!
I decided to make some fun blue cupcakes because, inadvertently, on the very day of the ultrasound I posted these cupcakes on The Café. Quite girlish, don't you think?........ not proper (as the British would say) for a little boy announcement .................. so you see, it was with great delight that I created these Tiger Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing. I know there will be Cars cakes, GI Joe cakes and Tommy the Train cakes in the future, but for this celebration announcement, I thought these Tiger Cupcakes were perfect.
If you have some news worth celebrating, a special event coming up or if you just want to have some fun with your kids, give these delicious, swirly cupcakes a try. Everyone will love them (and they'll love you too)!
Tiger Cupcakes w/ Brown Butter-Cream Cheese Icing
Ingredients for cupcakes:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk or sour cream, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa
gel or paste food coloring, if desired
Directions for the cupcakes:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350˚ F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, buttermilk (or sour cream), egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
3. Divide batter evenly into 2 or 3 medium size bowls (3 if using extra colored swirl). Sift cocoa into one of the bowls of batter, then stir well to combine. If using a third color, add a small amount of gel or paste food coloring to the second bowl of batter and stir well to combine.
4. Pour the batter into 3 ziplock bags or disposable decorating bags, scraping the bowls well to use up all the batter. Cut off a tiny snip of a corner of each bag (start tiny, you can always cut off a bit more). Beginning with the plain batter, squeeze about a tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Next, take the chocolate batter and, poking the corner of the bag right into the vanilla batter, squeeze out another (approximate) tablespoon of batter. This will form a chocolate circle surrounded with a vanilla ring of batter. Repeat this process with the third bag of batter (if using 3 colors) and then start again with the vanilla and repeat until all the batter is used up. Don't worry about trying to be exact with the amount of each color you add - the cupcakes will come out surprisingly fun and swirly even if you're not super precise. If you're finding it hard to picture this process, check out this youtube demonstration. It shows a zebra cake being made instead of cupcakes, but it will help you get the basic idea.
5. Bake until cupcake tops are firm and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
Adapted from Cook"s Illustrated
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Ingredients for icing:
1 stick (4 ounces butter
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
cream cheese 2 ounces, softened
2 tablespoons milk or half and half, more if needed
6 -7 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions for the icing:
1. Place first stick of butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt, then continue to cook until butter begins to foam and bubble. This is when you have to watch it like a hawk! Swirl the pan frequently on the burner to keep the butter from burning. It will go from yellow to pale gold to golden. As soon as you see the nice golden color, turn off the heat and remove pan from burner. It will continue to deepen a bit in color off of the heat. Set aside to cool while you're continuing to prepare the icing in step 2.
2. Place softened stick of butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium for 5 minutes until very soft and fluffy. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, the browned butter and the milk and mix again until well blended. Add another 2 cups of powdered sugar and vanilla. Add more milk or powdered sugar as needed. To pipe frosting you'll want a somewhat looser consistency. If you are frosting with a knife, it will need to be firmer.
3. Frost or pipe icing as desired. I used a disposable 18- inch icing bag with a 1M tip to swirl my icing. You may have more icing than you need for the 18 cupcakes. This icing freezes well, just beat it again for a minute or two after unthawing.