It was a great Birthday Weekend … with Cupcakes and Avocados
Saturday night we had a block party in the rain, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better! The kids ran through the puddles, danced in the rain, and were drenched at some points. The bounce house had to be deflated at one point because it looked like it was going to blow away. But, it got blown right back up as soon as the wind died down. The streamers were soaked and soggy. Everyone had jackets on. It was so much fun. It was beautiful.
The people at the block party were great. Nice people who laughed and joked; they played with balloons and streamers. They played with a toy dinosaur. Every time I stopped and listened there was the laughter and chatting of people genuinely having a great time. No cares. No worries. Nothing dragging you down. Just a fun time. It was so nice.
There was lots of Mexican food (I’m still stuffed!). The taco bar was fabulous. The food all tasted so good and the options seemed endless – chicken tacos, beef tacos, nachos, cheese enchiladas, guacamole (of course!), cheese, salsa (that salsa was REALLY good – maybe I’ll have to work on some sort of recipe for something similar; yummy yummy), and all the fixin’s.
Of course, there was traditional delicious birthday cake – white cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Instead of candles we had sparklers. That was great fun! One sparkler for each birthday girl, and a sparkler for each of the birthday girl’s kids. Real sparklers that looked fantastic. One was shaped like a heart; one was a star. The sparklers came from a cute little store called Heavenly Hostess.
I decided that I wanted to make special birthday cupcakes for my friend. So, I made two different kinds – Lemon Coconut minis with lemon-cream cheese frosting & chocolate cream cheese filled cupcakes. They got great reviews from the other guests. The tastes were both really good. The lemon ones were light and airy with a nice lemony tartness. And the chocolate ones were rich and creamy. I made the lemon cupcakes in a mini size so that you could have just a bite or two and feel happy inside without feeling stuffed. And, these cupcakes aren’t bad for you – low in fat and high in taste.
We stayed up late, laughing with friends and family. Joking. Talking. Eating too much. And, perhaps a drink or two were consumed. It was great. Thanks especially to Randy for doing all that work. Thanks to Amy for having a birthday around the same time as me. And, thanks to Dan for everything.
The next day, Dan took me for birthday nachos at my favorite Mexican place (yummy, more Mexican food!). Then we went for a walk on the beach. What a great day. What a great weekend! I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful life.
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- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 ¼ cups cake flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup safflower oil
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. (If you have mini muffin liners, now is the time to use them. Place them in the indentation and spray with non-stick cooking spray).
- Measure flours into a large bowl, and add sugar, baking soda, and salt into bowl. Stir in coconut and lemon zest.
- Whisk butter and oil in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (egg through lemon extract), whisking until well combined. Add wet ingredients to large bowl of dry ingredients, and stir with a wire whisk or wooden spoon until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin tin indentations, and bake in middle of oven about 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Frost cakes, and garnish with toasted coconut, sprinkles, or candied ginger if desired.
- Makes 38 mini cupcakes
- 8 oz cream cheese (not low-fat or whipped), at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lightly packed, finely grated lemon zest
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add the butter and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- On low speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat for just a few seconds, until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. Don't over beat or you may thin the frosting.
- Makes about 2 cups (or a little more frosting than you’ll need for the cupcakes)
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups sugar, divided use
- salt, divided use
- 1 large egg
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons light flavored vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Spray the liners with non-stick cooking spray.
- Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar, ¾ teaspoons salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and until smooth.
- Fill each baking cup with two tablespoons of the cake batter, and top with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake until the edges are firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.
- Makes 2 dozen