I am an unapologetic Pinterest addict. Whether I plan to or not, I usually end up pinning something several times a day. I love how this space has cleaned up my bookmarks folders but what I love even more is the constant stimulation of creativity and ideas for me. As much as it is a space for pretty pictures of things, I decided that the whole point of it (to me) is to actually act on those ideas. So far thanks to Pinterest I have:
1) given Erik a plan for a lovely herb bed for our front of the house gardening space (and it is gorgeous and I can’t wait to fill it with herbs!):
2) I have found an adorable crochet pattern for a little dinosaur hat which I promptly crocheted up for my nephew, Steele.
3) I have made a bunch of homemade house cleaners (my favorite recipe so far being a carpet freshener consisting of a combination of baking soda with lavender and peppermint essential oils that left my entire house smelling fresher and cleaner than any commercial cleaner has ever made it smell) that have saved me a ton of money and made house very clean without chemicals.
4) I have also found a ton of birthday cake ideas. My mother in law’s birthday was this weekend and I wanted to make something small but sunny and cute at the same time. I ran across a pin of these adorable sunflower cupcakes and decided they were simple enough for my limited artistic ability and I was also lucky enough to find that the lemon cake recipe attached is outstanding – light with a soft crumb and a lemony flavor, these are literally the perfect spring cupcake.
Lemon Sunflower Cupcakes
recipe and decorating ideas adapted from Erica Sweet Tooth
for the cake*:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
Heat your oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcakes. In your stand mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and mix in. Add the vanilla and the lemon zest, mix well. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Add part of the flour to the bowl, mix. Add part of the sour cream, mix. Add some more flour, mix, then sour cream, mix, then add the rest of the flour and mix, and add the last bit of sour cream and mix together until everything is combined. Spoon your batter into your cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake until a tester inserted into the cuppies comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack until they are completely cooled.
*this version is cut in half from the original and I was able to get 12 cupcakes out of it. If you want the full version, please visit the link.
For the frosting:
1 package of cream cheese, room temp (I used low fat cream cheese)
1 stick of softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
a couple cups powdered sugar (I tend to just add a little at a time and mix and taste until I have the taste and consistency I want)
Cream the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix well. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until it’s the right, fluffy frosting consistency.
For decorating you need:
Wilton 1M decorating tip
Wilton 66/67 leaf decorating tip
piping bags (I use my nifty and quick disposable bags that I get at the craft stores)
yellow and green food color gel (I’ve been using Americolor gel pastes because they do not dry out nearly as fast as Wilton’s do)
a bag of mini Oreos
Once your cupcakes are completely cooled, fit a piping bag with the 1M tip and fill with uncolored, white frosting. I used the directions found here to make a swirl on the top of the cupcake. There’s a video at that link that’s helpful if you’re new to working with piping bags and tips. Take the rest of the frosting and separate it into two bowls. Color one bowl green (for leaves – and you probably won’t need very much of this color unless you want to make a ton of leaves – I didn’t.) and color one bowl yellow. Load the 66 tip into one bag and the 67 tip in the other. I filled the tip 66 bag with green frosting and the tip 67 bag with yellow. I placed one mini oreo in the center of each cupcake, then with my yellow bag, just piped around the oreo until I had little petals that resembled a sunflower. If you need help with how to pipe, there is a tutorial posted on the original recipes link. I added a few mini leaves with the green frosting bag here and there around the cuppies. I added a few “Happy Birthday” picks and the cupcakes were done in about two hours time. This was faster and more satisfying (to me) than making a whole layer cake (and far easier for the artistically challenged such as myself). There are Youtube videos aplenty if you need help with piping instructions. That’s how I learned how to do it so google that shiz if you need it!