Saturday morning. Unabashedly unfeminine fishing hat - check. Mini Mouse rod - check. Tiny tackle box - check. A sleeping mama, an anxious father, and a very happy little girl. Only one thing stood between us and a day on the water - our traditional and obligatory 7-11 stop.
My father and I went on many a fishing trip, and though the memories are hazy, their merry glow is timeless.
Before every trip, one stop had to be made. Though my mother was very capable of packing us lunches, and she always did, we could not forgo our chance to buy two Gatorades (Blue only please, the yellow was repulsive), a donut or two, and a bag of peach rings...which likely ended up shoved unto each of my grimy little fingers later that afternoon.
Though my father and I have not made a 7-11 trip in quite some time, my love for days with him or for peach-flavored candy has not diminished in the least.
When this month's edition of Martha Stewart Living showed up at my door several weeks ago, the tiny girl inside of me wanted to scream with giddy elation. While elaborate decorations or themed desserts are not typically my preference, these confection flowers made for some of the loveliest cupcakes I had ever seen. AND...they gave me an excuse to buy a bunch of candy so of course I was delighted.
Setting out, I was prepared for disaster. On the few occasions that I have attempted to emulate Martha, my endeavors have rarely looked even remotely like the picture I was copying.
However, with this particular venture, the worst case only meant that I would be left with three dozen unadorned or very ugly angel food cupcakes, a bowl of fluffy frosting, and peach candies that would desperately need to be eaten by the handful.
Even the worst case seemed pretty wonderful.
Angel food cake is always my cake of choice. My mother makes it for my birthday every year, and I especially love it in the Springtime.
I love watching egg whites become billowy white clouds.
The flour mixture is dusted over the egg whites in three increments before being folded into the whites.
While the cakes are cooling, you can get to work on the frosting.
While I normally would have paired angel food cake with a simple spoonful of whipped cream, these cupcakes seemed to beg for something a little more whimsical - like a fluffy, lemon-scented marshmallow frosting.
Of course, you could exchange the lemon for a tiny bit of rose water if you would really like to play up the floral vibe, I just wasn't feeling it this time.
Sweet, airy, and fragrant with lemon - it's worth the seven straight minutes of tiresome beating.
Decorating is simple, though I'll warn you now that slicing those peach candies in half is not exactly an easy task, but at least you can snack along the way...
While my sour-leather roses left a lot to be desired, I was quite delighted by how the peach and "berry" flowers turned out.
No, they are not entirely perfect like Martha's, but that is just fine with me.
I hear there's a holiday for mothers coming up, and mother's typically like flowers so... Just a thought.
Floral Cupcakes - Angel Food + Lemon Marshmallow Frosting
recipes adapted from Ina Garten and Paula Deen / makes about 36 cupcakes
for the cupcakes
- 2 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10-12 large eggs)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 36 foil cupcake liners
Line several muffin tins with foil cupcake cups and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and sift together four times. Set aside.
In the work bowl of your stand mixer, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until medium peaks form - about one minute. Reduce speed to medium and slowly sprinkle in 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
Increase the speed to high and whisk for 3-5 minutes more, until the whites are very thick and shiny and hold firm peaks. In the last minute of beating, add vanilla extract.
Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it in gently. Continue adding the flour mixture in fourths until it is fully incorporated.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are crisp and deep golden.*
Remove the cakes from the oven and place on cooling racks. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the marshmallow frosting.
*Though the cakes may be cooked through, pulling them out too soon will results in a dense cake. Make sure you allow the cakes to brown fully.
for the lemon marshmallow frosting
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
Fill a heavy saucepan 3/4 full of water and place over high heat. Bring to a heavy simmer.
Combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and egg whites in a glass bowl that is just slightly larger than the saucepan and that will easily rest over the pan when set on top. Beat the mixture with an electric hand mixer for one minute. The mixture should look somewhat frothy.
Place the glass bowl over the pan of simmering water, being careful that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl - this could cause the frosting to turn to sugar.
Beat the mixture on high speed with your electric hand mixer for seven minutes. The mixer should be very thick and shiny. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
Use the frosting immediately on cooled cupcakes.
decorating and assembly
- peach candies, sliced in half
- raspberry and blackberry candies
- literally whatever else you find appealing, except black licorice (ew)
Use a butter knife to coat each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting and then decorate with your prepared candies to create whimsical flowers. Store in airtight containers or serve immediately. Enjoy!
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