There seems to be a trend with my daughters Birthday’s. I am a baker, a good one, but on this one day, I just can’t get it right. It’s been this way from the very first cake I set out to bake for Octave. And now the emotions run deep, and each year there is much anticipation and always a little bit of heart ache. It seems everything goes a-wall, and while majority of the time I am fairly agreeable, and go with the flow, the cake mishaps wind me up tight. It’s easy for me to relinquish control, except for in this one small area. Aesthetic is important to me, perhaps even to a fault, particularly when it comes to my food and drink. I used to get strangely emotional if my coffee spilled over on to my cup and saucer. My husband can remember my eyes welling up with tears when a barista carelessly handed me my coffee, spilling the crema down the side of a once perfectly white canvas of morning. This was on one of our first few dates, which was awkward and inevitable, and now seems suddenly strange that we made it to another date. I guess this idiosyncrasy does not accurately describe who I am or how I navigate the rest of my life, but maybe it just keeps things interesting, albeit frustrating if you happen to be around me while I’m baking a cake, once a year, for the people I love most. But the good news is, I am growing, exponentially, because it’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a blemish free coffee, and I’m still here to tell about it. Today I just laughed when I started baking in my bathrobe to learn we were out of baking powder. And then I even smiled and enjoyed frosting inconsistently awkward cupcakes. I picked out the best of the bunch for showcase, and placed them in a fool proof container at the door, but it wasn't long before eager helping hands picked them up, jostled them around a few good times, leaving them unable to discern their up from down. It was such a picture of motherhood, which might actually be the only thing that has ever given me a good dose of reality.
I know Birthdays and the rest of life are not about these trivial details, but for me, it makes sense that the heart and intention should match the eye. But this is not always the case. I have such good intentions. The End. That's kind of what everything feels like lately, good intentions falling short, or just straight up missing the boat. Sigh. The day is done and I’ve had a good bout of tears, not because of these cupcakes, but a little, (a lot) to do with the battle of a four year olds impressively strong will, and a lot to do with my sweetest little Bij turning two. TWO! This was my reflection before silly things like expectations and chaos, and cupcakes…
She feels like coming home, and resting inside a humble confidence. It feels like trying on a vintage family heirloom, or looking into a mirror that has no mishaps and regrets. She seems to have a little bit of everyone running through her, a special something we can’t quite put our finger on. But I feel it, deeper than the strongest surge that brought her into my weary arms two years ago today. After so much anticipation it really was HER, the Bijou Haru I met and dreamed up a decade before. The Iittle girl I talked about one balmy California night, with my soul sisters and a bottle of petite sirrah. It was always her, the missing link, an unfulfilled ache, that quiet space that always longed to be known. Happy Birthday to the one who keeps me rooted and sure, and always brings me back home.
Rainbow Chip Cupcakes
Recipe slightly adapted from Date Night In
(makes 24 cupcakes)
Homemade Rainbow Chips:
10 oz white chocolate chips
1 tsp. coconut oil (or other preferred oil)
4 different food coloring
5 egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. whole milk
2 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. whole milk
1 c. rainbow chips
2, 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. rainbow chips
Melt chocolate chips and oil in microwave or on stove top. Stir often as not to burn, and remove when all the chips are smooth and melted. Divide chocolate into 4 small bowls. Add a few drops of coloring to each and stir until combined. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and smooth out each color across the paper, as shown above. Place in the freezer for 25 minutes or until set. Chop up chocolate into small chips and place in an air tight container for up to a week.
Preheat oven to 350.
Separate eggs whites into a medium size bowl and whisk together 1/4 c. milk and vanilla. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle hook attachment, combine flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Mix until combined. Add softened butter on top of the mixture and mix for 30 seconds. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 c. milk while mixing on medium speed for about a minute. Continue to mix while you pour in the egg white mixture. Mix everything together for another 30 seconds. Add rainbow chips and mix until just combined.
Place softened cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Cream together with a hand beater or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add powered sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat until well combined. Fold in the rainbow chips. You can make ahead of time and store in the fridge for a few days or frost immediately.
Bake cupcakes at 350 for 20-26 minutes. Let cool completely and frost to your hearts content.