Julie Anne Rhodes by Maisy
One of my favorite nightclubbing partners in crime from back in my vampire-lifestyle days in London, Miss Dee, came to visit me last Friday.
Back in our hipster night owl days

My how times have changed. Instead of tearing up the dance floor at a friends’ uber chic 70’s icon birthday bash – BTW, happy birthday Lou Ashby …

Jewels, Maisy, and Dee

… we both opted for baking cupcakes, a slumber party, and ghost stories at home with her precious seven year old daughter Maisy.

Jewels with Maisy

Trust me, there were still plenty of giggles. Miss Maisy definitely inherited her mum’s bigger than life personality!
Making the cupcakes that trumped the party
So much so, they both chased away my blues over having to cancel my trip…

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes
… and took me back to the days when Tatjana and I would have fun baking together. There is quite simply not a better feeling in the whole wide world.

Clever little artist at work

Maisy was busy on decorating duty while I cleaned up, topping off our baked masterpieces with chopped fresh strawberries to add a little healthy twist…
Maisy and cupcake bliss

…. at least that is my excuse for indulging in one, and I’m sticking to it. She was such a great little soux chef, I offered her a job at The Roving Stove anytime she wants to come back.
The Roving Stove Rocks!

Judging by her drawings, I guess she enjoyed making cupcakes with me too. Thank you for making me smile Maisy, and it was so great to see you again Dee! It is testament to a great friendship when you can so easily pick up where you left off, even after fifteen years have passed.
I’m very excited to announce that I will be shooting a segment for The Cooking Channel’s Food(ography) on Friday, so I’ll be back to tell you all about that soon. In the meantime, what goodies do you like to bake with your little ones?

Maisy’s Sponge Cupcakes

Since we are about to start the “What Have You Got To Lose?” posts in a couple weeks, I decided perhaps a lighter cupcake would be appropriate. They are every bit as delicious and satisfying as any I’ve ever made! So long as you go easy on the icing (or better still, just a fruit sauce), they are also reasonably low fat. Having already started the lessons in A Course in Weight Loss, I found my usual obsession with wanting to eat the entire lot had been miraculously lifted, so I really did enjoy one totally guilt free.

Servings: 12
Ingredients:

for the cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
for the icing
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons of buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
cupcake wrappers, and any cupcake decorations of your choice (optional)
Directions:
for the cupcakes
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake wrappers, and place on a sheet pan.
2). Sift flour, and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.
3). In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together for 5 minutes, or until well blended and color lightens. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar gradually, and beat for an additional 5 minutes. Add zest and juice, and beat until well incorporated.
4). In another large bowl, using an electric beater, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and continue to whip, adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar gradually until soft peaks form (it will look like little snow drifts when you lift the beaters out.
5). Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in the flour carefully but thoroughly, a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Using a large ice cream scoop for portion control, scoop and drop the batter into each cupcake wrapper.
6). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top, and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
for the icing
7). In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar together. Add the buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time (for desired consistency), and the vanilla extract. Beat an additional 2 minutes for a light and fluffy butter cream icing. Spread icing onto each cooled cupcake.
Serving Suggestions: Serve as is, with fruit sauce, or decorated with toppings of your choice.
Variation: For a slightly more exotic touch, substitute rosewater for the vanilla.
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