The unthinkable happened yesterday. David turned 4. FOUR. While we’re on the topic of David—are you all pronouncing his name like we do? We say it in Spanish—“Da-veed”—(remember, Irving’s Dominican!). Ok, good, all on the same page.
Yesterday my mom and I, and Jonathan too, got to join David at school for his special celebration. His amazing teachers made him feel so special—a birthday crown, songs, being the line leader—he was in Heaven and it was fun for us to be a part of it. He brought Surf Sweets fruity gummy hearts for his store bought, nut free snack and they were a total hit! We spent the afternoon frosting cupcakes, and then wrapped up the day with a family celebration! It was a fun day for an amazing boy—I couldn’t be more proud of him.
^^^ Behind the scenes—David loves to take pictures with me.
David and I have been practicing his cupcakes for the past month, all in the name of research, of course. He told me that he wanted pink cupcakes with cherries on top. No idea where he got the idea, but he had a vision. He calls these “Cherry Berry Cupcakes.”
We made these cupcakes with (vegan) jello—remember doing that in the 80’s?— and also added a strawberry puree to the batter. We tried 3 different times to make the cake pink—strawberries and natural food dye, cherries (don’t—they react with the baking soda (I think) and turn grey, trust me), and even added beets to the strawberry puree. These cupcakes start with the best intentions, but they do not want to be pink. At all. But they are still delicious!
* I did not get to partake in this round of cupcakes due to my allergen elimination diet. That’s true mother’s love. Making gluten full cupcakes for your first baby that you can’t eat because of your second baby.
This frosting is my new favorite for cupcakes. I always feel like shortening tastes a little waxy, but plain butter doesn’t give the right consistency. This blend of the two makes a perfect frosting. Not too waxy, good consistency, great flavor. I can, and do, eat this straight out of the mixing bowl.
So bake these beauties for your next birthday party. Or Valentine’s. Or a Tuesday. You won’t be disappointed. Even not-a-fan-of-desserts Irving loves these. And that says a lot!
Cherry Berry Cupcakes, makes 24 regular cupcakes, 5 dozen mini
2 cup non dairy milk
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 c frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed (will reduce to less than 1 c once pureed)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup flour (I have not yet tried a gluten free flour yet, but I would use this recipe for reference)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ t salt
1 3 ounce package vegan red jello (I like BaKol Jel, raspberry or cherry)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 liners (I like silicone best!)
Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, melted oil, and vanilla extract to the milk vinegar mixture and mix well. Add strawberry puree and mix again. Coconut oil will start to firm up, this is ok.
Mix dry ingredients, including the jello powder with a whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well, incorporating all of the dry ingredients.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for about 30 minutes (20 minutes for mini cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
1 stick shortening
½ stick (4 T) vegan butter
2 ½ c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
3 T non dairy milk
Cut shortening and butter into small chunks and place in a mixer. Beat until creamy. Add powdered sugar and slowly start to incorporate. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk and beat. Add third tablespoon of milk if needed for consistency (it usually is!). Color with natural food colorings if desired.
For decorations, David was dead set on having cherries on top. I found these naturally colored cherries at my local natural foods store. I believe Whole Foods carries some as well. And for sprinkles, I like both of these brands. The center box is like old school jimmies at an ice cream store, and the outside bottles are colored sugar. Both are great!
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