May 16, 2013

brown sugar cupcakes and sunshine

Life isn't always sunshine and cupcakes.  Lately, there have been a lot of struggles.

As you know, I'm a planner.  I already made dough to bake into pizza this weekend and didn't think anything of it.  Yes, it's Thursday morning.  

But, sometimes no matter how much you plan and plan, life has its own direction for you.  At some point you just have to hang on and hope for the best.  Life will sort it itself out, right? 

Despite all of the craziness in our lives, there are things to be thankful for.  This morning I'm thankful for:
  • Summer
  • Neighborhood walks with the pup during which we hear more birds than cars
  • The time for cooking and baking lots of homemade deliciousness
  • Yoga
  • Reading in the shade of our towering trees
  • The weeks between semesters made for relaxing 
  •  The surprising smell of Georgia pine needle mulch this morning that made me smile
  • Parents who give us plant starters and dirt (Yes, we're accepting dirt.  If you have extra, send it our way)
  • Our garden which is now fully stocked with tomatoes, strawberries, soybeans, Swiss chard, oregano, basil, and chives
  • Waking up to a cool summer breeze
  • Sunshine
  • Cupcakes
Yesterday we celebrated my amazing mom's birthday.  We ate homemade cupcakes on the patio.  This was our view.  It was wonderful.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes
Based on a recipe by the Grit Vegetarian Cookbook
Makes 3 dozen, easily halved

  • 1 c shortening
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c veggie oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c water
  • this frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  In a stand mixer, whip together the shortening, sugar and brown sugar until light.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mixing everything together well.  Set it aside.

In a small bowl, combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and water.  Set it aside.

Add half of the dry mixture to the stand mixer.  Add half of the milk mixture.  Mix just until combined.  Add the rest of the dry and wet mixtures to the mixer and combine.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling 1/2 way only.  Bake for about 18 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a baking rack before frosting.

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