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Beginnings. {Weddings + Cupcakes}

December 22, 2010

I am one of those strange people that actually likes change. It may just boil down to loving beginnings. There is a unique optimism that accompanies beginnings. As you step into something new or return to something old at a new time, there is the point in which you take that first step, not knowing which of the vast possibilities will become the inevitable conclusion. Its a terrifying kind of beauty. I realize this may be a somewhat romanticized view of beginnings and change–there are beginnigs points full of despair, pain and anxiety.

I was a tad bit nervous, or maybe uncertain is the better word, as to what my return to Salem, and then later Redmond, would be like this season. Before boarding the plane, I instinctively scanned through the various possible conclusions to my trip with a realistic optimism (I hope). I knew that this trip would possibly be filled with great joy and/or toil. There is still the potential for both. Yet I’ve been graced with the opportunity to embrace a joyful beginning…

I began my Oregon trip with my wonderful friend, baking 200 cupcakes for a wedding! First off, I really could not have imagined a more perfect beginning to my vacation. There is a unique joy that I only have when baking for other people…I love the necessary precision in measuring the ingredients, the sweet smells that waft through the house, and even the dusting of the flour and cocoa across the kitchen counter. I don’t know what it is exactly–its a compilation of it all and I was just grateful. Grateful to begin this season catching up with a friend while we created treats for someone to celebrate their new beginning–their marriage, their new life together.

I’ve had the opportunity to join many people as they begin their new life together. With over fifty cousins, all older than myself, I spent the majority of my childhood being in and going to weddings. As I’ve grown older, a little wiser, and experienced more of life–there is a unique, hopeful and hesitant, beauty as I participate in this celebration. Weddings vows may encompass what I’d like to really express about the beginning of a season, of a journey–in joy/sorrow, sickness/health, richer/poorer–these note the realities of what life brings. And it is only God’s grace that allows us to not just walk through this life, but really embrace it amidst the various circumstances. I find rest in the truth of His grace and His strength as I look toward various new beginnings unfolding before me…and I pray for the Lord’s grace, strength and joy to encourage my newly wedded friends.

That said, what better way to celebrate the vast possibilities that lie beyond a new beginning than with a special homemade treat–these cupcakes ended up great: Chocolate Cupcakes (seriously, the best chocolate cake I’ve ever baked) and the new classic (ok, that’s sort of an oxymoron) Red Velvet!!

Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Cupcakes: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Chocolate Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup  non-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Chocolate Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line regular sized cupcake pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Red Velvet Cupcakes: Adapted from Apple a Day

Red Velvet Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp (1 oz.) red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

Red Velvet Directions:

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans. (I only made a two layer cake, so some of my batter went unused.)

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8oz Cream Cheese

1/4 cup Salted Butter

3 cups Powdered Sugar {add as needed}

1/4-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

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From → Baking, Reflecting

4 Comments
  1. Liking change is definitely not strange at all. But these cupcakes.. WOW they look so yummy. Thanks for the receipes to these

  2. Laurie permalink

    Hey Em
    What a lovely posting, and such yumminess on the cupcakes.
    I love your wistful, hopeful and sincere thoughts about beginnings, and pray for a wonderful start of the new year.
    Leaving you the poem by Tennyson that speaks to beginnings:

    Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light;
    The year is dying in the night;
    Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
    Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true.
    Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
    For those that here we see no more,
    Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
    Ring in redress to all mankind.
    Ring out a slowly dying cause,
    And ancient forms of party strife;
    Ring in the nobler modes of life,
    With sweeter manners, purer laws.
    Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
    The faithless coldness of the times;
    Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
    But ring the fuller minstrel in.
    Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    The civic slander and the spite;
    Ring in the love of truth and right,
    Ring in the common love of good.
    Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
    Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
    Ring out the thousand wars of old,
    Ring in the thousand years of peace.
    Ring in the valiant man and free,
    The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
    Ring out the darkness of the land,
    Ring in the Christ that is to be.

    Love and best wishes, Laurie

  3. ok really. STOP posting pictures of cupcakes. you’re killing me, and my weight-loss plan…:)

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