Sunday, May 15, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes/Playdate

Ryan is officially 8 months old as of yesterday. Long gone are the days of frequent naps, playing with toys while laying on his back, and staying in the same spot where I left him. Instead of enticing him to crawl forward with a toy, I’m now chasing after him as he finds all sorts of “non-toys” to get into.

He is well aware of people, places, and even the topic of conversation. Meaning: if our attention is not focused on him, baby will do whatever it takes to get it!  He may just be the teensiest tiny bit spoiled. But I will deny it to the end, as any mother would. ;-) Ryan has so many expressions, my favorite being his “proud smile” that he gives after standing up all by himself or making us laugh spontaneously. He has got mommy and daddy wrapped around his little finger!

Last week, I received a package in the mail that came as a complete surprise. An old childhood friend of mine, J, who had just recently found out about my diagnosis, sent me a “pink ribbon” baking set. Complete with cookie cutters, cupcake sleeves, a spatula, and sprinkles. How incredibly sweet and thoughtful, right? So I decided to make red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting. I got my recipe from Pastries of a Chocoholic and they turned out to be very easy to make!
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup light buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 packages cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. In a large bowl, gently beat the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring. Then gradually add the dry ingredients until smooth and thoroughly combined.
3. Fill 2/3 of the cupcake holders with the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick. Remove and cool completely before frosting. Makes about 24 cupcakes.
4. Frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on low speed until smooth. Then increase to high speed until very light and fluffy. Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes or spread on with a spatula.

Along with the cupcakes, I made chocolate chip cookies. I found out that it is very hard to keep them in a ribbon shape, even with the cookie cutters.

I thought that everything tasted yummy. I liked how the cupcake icing wasn't excessively sweet, like the store bought kind usually is. My next goal will be to move on from baking to cooking “real” food. I already have some recipes in mind.  I'm planning on starting out by cooking one new recipe a week, and then eventually more, once I get the hang of it!

It turns out that J has a little baby girl, P, who is only five and a half months older than Ryan. And they live just a couple minutes down the road. So, of course we decided to get together and hang out! We had a great time catching up on each others lives (from the past decade!) and watching our babies “interact”. Well, at this age, more like play next to each other. Except that Ryan got really fussy, as he’s still going through the “stranger anxiety” phase, and this was his first experience being around another baby for longer than a few minutes. With everything going on these past few months, Ryan never really had the opportunity to meet any "friends". We need to give him more experiences with babies, because he has to develop his social skills. Anyone up for a playdate?  I promise to bring cupcakes! (hehe).

Ryan eventually cheered up, thanks to a little extra comforting and Baby Signing Time. I’m so glad that J reached out to me and that we got to reunite after all these years! She even brought Ryan a cute pair of swim trunks and matching hat. Thanks for everything, J! I’m amazed at her generosity and, as always, I'm so thankful to have such wonderful people in my life!


  1. Oh my gosh, those cupcakes look AMAZING! I am so impressed. That set is so cute. You are going to be a pro in the kitchen in no time! Yay for play dates! I would be up for one but I don't have a baby, hehe. But we need to come visit Ryan again sometime soon:).

  2. How sweet! And how wonderful that you all got to catch up!

  3. Yum! I think the rest of us will have to taste these cupcakes sometime soon because they look delicious :) J brought you such thoughtful gifts! And it is so cute seeing the two babies together!


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