Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Today is the official kick off of summer here in the states. Emilie has already brought us some tasty summer recipes to try out this season. I’ve had this cupcake recipe on the sidelines for a few months now, and today seems like a good day to bring it out into the sunshine. Before we get to that, though, I would like to take a moment and bring us back to the meaning of today’s holiday. Like many holidays, the spirit of its intent is often lost in the hustle and bustle surrounding it.
Today, Americans honor our fallen military Service members. Having been at war for over a decade now, today’s living generations have all witnessed the sacrifices made by these brave men and women. Some closer than others as they lay a loved one to rest in Arlington, others at a distance as they turn their heads away in dismay at a TV newscast. As you drive by national cemetaries, you may see Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops lighting candles or adorning graves with American Flags, like at the annual Luminaria inFredericksburg. At 3 PM today, in response to the “National Moment of Remembrance” memorandum issued by the White House in 2000, you may here the solemn notes of “Taps” and that everything has come to a halt around you.
On MRAP, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were an everday reality for us. We once had a Lieutenant Colonel tell us he had never seen a group of people work so hard and for so many years; that even troops got a break from being shot at. Personally, I think being shot at for 6-18 months is waaaaay more stressfull! Anyway, a job like that can lay a serious toll on people. Luckily, our leadership was often able to detect (or acknowledge when given a nudge…or punch) cracks in morale. At those times, small diversions were arranged, like a mandatory team lunch where laptops and blackberries had to be left behind and work was a forbidden topic for one hour…or a cook off contest like this Iron Chef-esqe challenge we did last fall.
The cracker, not junior’s pet, lol
Vanilla Goldfish Cupcakes with Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
- 1 ¾ cake flour, sifted
- ¾ cup Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish crumbs (appx 1 cup whole)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided into ¾ cup and ¼ cup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated, room temperature
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk or cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Choice of food coloring (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Pour Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish into a food processor and pulse until Goldfish turn into fine crumbs.
- In a mixing bowl, sift the cake flour, Goldfish crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk (or use your hand or electric mixer’) until eggs are foamy .
- Add the cream of tartar to the foamy egg whites and continue beating until soft peaks form.
- Once soft peaks form, slowly add a 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. The goal is to be able to hold the bowl upside down with nothing falling out. Once you reach this point, your egg whites are ready.
- In another bowl, beat the1/2 cup of butter until soft and creamy (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add 3/4 cup of the sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after adding each yolk.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, and beat in the vanilla extract.
- Once vanilla is blended in, alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour, until all the flour and milk has been added to the bowl. If you are using a hand or stand mixer, use the low setting.
- With a spatula, very gently fold a little of the whites into the batter. Continue to fold in the remaining whites, taking care not to over mix. Doing so will cause the batter to deflate.
- Fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, decorate as you wish with the Lemon Butter Cream Frosting. I used a star tip for the muffin minis and a spatula for the others.
- Cream the butter until smooth and well blended.
- Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Gradually beat in the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Add the milk and beat quickly until frosting is light and fluffy. (If the acid from the lemon curdles the milk, add more sugar until smoothed)
- Tint the frosting with desired food color (use the paste/gel kind, which will not thin the icing).