So as is now customary, Lizzie and I got together and baked gorgeous red velvet cupcakes in sweet polka-dotted cases. There is something so special about baking with a loved one and sharing the joy as all the ordinary ingredients blend together to make something extraordinary. Even though Lizzie seemed slightly more interested in licking the beater once the cakes were in the oven, we both enjoyed the quality time that we often miss out on due to the busy-ness of everyday life - laughing and chatting without the noisy interruptions of phones, television, computers or siblings. And when they emerged from the oven, we both definitely agreed that our warm, delicious cupcakes were the bee's knees!
I often find that the most difficult aspect of baking is not ensuring exact measurements or being careful not to over (or under) mix, but making sure that your creations last long enough to cool and be beautifully iced! In most cases, when we were children, cakes were very rarely iced or decorated (unless for a very special occassion) because as soon as "that smell" began drifting through the house, everyone would converge upon the kitchen and inhale whatever happened to be sitting on the cooling racks - sorry Mum!
Sadly for Lizzie, our little Reds were not iced until the following morning and she was back at home. Luckily for me, I had the bowl and spatula all to myself! Unless you have done it yourself, you will not understand how satisfying (and yummy) is it to make your own buttercream. My favourite part is watching the butter and icing sugar whipping and slowly morphing from an oily-looking lump of butter into a light, white fluffy mixture. Modern conveniences allow for a cook to walk away whilst the frosting is whipped for its required ten minutes, but I just sit there, gazing into the bowl and watching this miraculous transformation occur.
So cakes frosted and in the fridge, there is nothing more for me to do but "clean" the bowl and put the kettle on!