Friday, September 24, 2010
This year the September equinox happened yesterday, on the 23rd September. While it is the vernal equinox (in March) that is celebrated traditionally by communities across the world, the September equinox signifies the arrival of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere.
This year, after 19 years, there was a full moon in the early hours of the 23rd and the next time this happens will be in 2029. Many countries traditionally celebrate harvest festivals during the period of the September equinox.
We don't really celebrate the September equinox, but the 23rd day of September is special in our home because that’s the day I was born many, many years ago. This year, we had double celebrations as my mother’s birthday is on the 22nd.
I had baked an eggless zebra cake for her birthday and also made a traditional broken wheat payasam (with jaggery and coconut milk), which is a favourite of hers. So I wasn’t planning on baking anything for my birthday. My husband couldn’t be with us to celebrate and it was in the middle of Akshaya’s school week, so I was planning on enjoying myself thoroughly by taking it easy.
That’s when family and friends started calling or leaving birthday messages and one question I kept getting asked repeatedly was what I was going to bake for my birthday. My uncle even sent me a message saying that though they were too far away to taste it, he would love to know what I was baking and enjoy it with me in the spirit of celebration!
How then, could I get through my birthday without baking something? I had nothing planned and knew I didn’t want to spend half the day in the kitchen. I also wanted to make something didn’t involve heavy stuff like cream, chocolate (yes, indeed!) or buttercream.
These simple yet very pretty pink cupcakes caught my eye. Funnily enough, I’m not a pink colour sort of person, but I was excited with the idea of pink cupcakes for my birthday. I also love the idea of cupcakes over cakes laden with frosting, especially as these were covered with glace icing.
I changed things a bit by cutting down on the butter and leaving out the eggs. I also added a bit of lemon juice to the icing as I find the tang takes the edge off the sweetness of icing sugar.
These cupcakes are absolutely soft, not too sweet and perfect for celebrating. They are a lot like chocolate chip covered cupcakes of mine, but the ratio of butter is a bit higher in this recipe.
Before I share my recipe, I would like to thank all of you who called, mailed me or sent me messages wishing me a wonderful day. Your wishes truly made my day even more special and I dedicate these cupcakes to you all. I only wish I could send them across for real.
Pretty Pink Eggless Birthday Cupcakes
(Adapted from Taste)
For the cupcakes:
100gm butter, soft at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk (plus 1 to 2 tbsp more)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
For the pink glace icing:
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp milk (or water)
2-3 drops red liquid food colouring
Silver cachous (silver coated sugar balls) to decorate
Beat the soft butter and sugar, with a hand held electric beater, till pale and creamy.
Sieve together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and flour. Add this, the extract (if using), and the milk and beat into the creamed mixture, on lowest speed, till just combined.
Spoon the batter evenly between 12 cupcake/ muffin tins (for largish cupcakes) or 20 cupcake/ muffin tins (for smaller cupcakes) lined with paper cases.
Bake at 180C (350F) for about 20 minutes, till done. Completely cool the cupcakes on a rack.
When ready to ice the cupcakes, mix the icing sugar, lemon juice and food colouring in a bowl. Slowly add the milk (or water) a little at a time, and mix into a thick and smooth paste. The icing should be thick enough to spread without running down the sides. If the icing is a little runny, add a little icing sugar to adjust consistency.
Pour about 1/2 a teaspoon or so of the icing on top of esch cupcake and allow to spread. Decorate with the silver decorations. Allow the icing about 15 to 20 minutes to set.
These cupcakes are also joining Sugar High Fridays, being hosted here this month, as they are small enough to be eaten in 2 to 3 bites.