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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TWD: Berry Surprise Cupcakes


The Sugar:  These little cakes were fun to make and very pretty and tasty, which is always a plus.  They made me think of summer, and that is always a nice memory in the middle of winter.

The Snark:  Notice, I didn't say these little cakes were easy to make.  The two pictured above were the only survivors because I had some really fallen cupcakes that didn't work out at all.  Good thing they were tasty because that will get me to try again.

The Spice:  I was so careful about not over-mixing that I ended up under-mixing my batter, up until the last two cupcakes.  So, while at least I had survivors to take pictures of, I had a lot of failure to contend with as well.  That was my fault though.


I have some great neighbors.  I really do.  One in particular, my neighbor across the street, is so fun and easy to talk to - and vent to - about life, raising our kids, marriage, etc.  I bring this up because it is something that I haven't had in a really long time.  Oh, we've had neighbors, but not that I could really commiserate with about life in general.  I have some friends, that I'm happy to say are still friends, even though we haven't actually been neighbors for going on seven years now.  I value those kinds of relationships that go deeper than just the surface, and, if you are lucky, surprise you along the way.  The best surprises, I think, are sweet ones.  Not only in baking, like these lovely little cupcake versions of this week's recipe, the Berry Surprise Cake, chosen by Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen, but in relationships.   Speaking of relationships, one of my favorites, is all my fellow Tuesdays with Dorie Gals & Guys.  Be sure to check out the blogroll for all the other amazing variations this week.

The best relationships are a lot like these delicious cupcakes, which, incidentally, I did share with my wonderful neighbor and she loved them.  These cupcakes may be light and airy and uncomplicated on the surface, but they are sturdy and can hold in all the goodness that is inside and keep you going and keep you surprised by that goodness being shared and touching our lives.  Sweet little red berries as that added extra little boost that we sometimes all need.


This may seem silly, but in this case, you could almost say that you could learn a lot about friendship from a cupcake.  I didn't mean to write about this when I started this post, but the fact is that while I was finishing putting these together tonight, I was having a great heart to heart with my neighbor.  It was really nice reaffirm again that, basically, I'm not the only one that is in a situation like mine, and that someone out there understands where I'm coming from.  That is very comforting, especially if you go through life for a long time, surrounded by people and feeling very alone.

I think that is why, that even though the past couple of years have been some of the most difficult times in my life, they have also been the sweetest.  I spent a lot of time alone with my babies, which was both joyful and very lonely, but I have two beautiful, mostly healthy boys who keep me going (and going and going) and are the sweetest reward life has to offer.  When our first boy was born, people used to ask me how I felt about being a mother.  I didn't mean to sound flippant and I hope that people understood that I was completely serious when I would laugh and say that it is by far the best thing I have ever done.  I'm not saying it is for everyone, but even when I feel like my head is going to explode or I'm going to pass out from sheer exhaustion, it is still the very best experience I've ever had.

I don't think I focus on that enough.  I have a tendency to want life to be good, but hone in on the bad too much.  This is something I am working on.  That is something I would say is a good resolution to have.  It is a daily, if not hourly, event and something I have to constantly remind myself of.  Especially when faced with hard times as we are all experiencing.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who come here and visit my little blog and leave me comments that are always helpful, funny, cute, creative and supportive.  When I started this blog, I really hoped that I would be able to find my way into this community and get the support and basic human contact I so desperately needed.  I really just don't have enough words to express my gratitude for not only having good neighbors near my house, but having incredible neighbors in this blogging community.  I really couldn't do all this without you.

A huge part of this for me has been Tuesdays with Dorie.  Tuesday is now my favorite day of the week.  I know that even if I fail, I will still get to share the experience and the passion for baking and creating with simple ingredients that we all share.  I know I am gushing, but I just had to share how I'm feeling with you all.  So, thank you, a million times over, for being here and sharing this experience with me.


Mary Ann said...

Holly- what a great and thoughtful post. Your blog is wonderful and I love it!
Your cupcakes turned out so cute- I love the tall frosting and the parfaits look delicious.
How nice of you to share!

Marthe said...

I love what you say about friendship!! The cupcakes sound delicious, I chickened out this week after reading the P&Q and seeing all the problems everyone had with this recipe. Also the berries were so expensive....

Cristine said...

What an absolutely wonderful post!!! Thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning.

Your cupcakes look wonderful!

Isabelle said...

trop cute en version mini :) c'est vraiment beau !

Kimberly Johnson said...

Beautiful post and one that I can really relate too! :) Your cupcakes and parfaits look wonderful!

chocolatechic said...

Great post.

Mine failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely idea, I bet they were all delicious.

LaDue & Crew said...

Well said... food is more than "just cooking". It's where relationships reveal themselves, memories are made, and love is formed.

It's much cheaper than a therapist any day!

Manggy said...

Well, how nice that you have TWO survivors then-- one for you and one for sharing! The universe must have been telling you something, huh? :)
I'm glad you're able to find so much fulfillment in your life and I hope you will be able to see more of these everyday blessings :) I'm glad to have met you too!

Anonymous said...

Your cupcakes look gorgeous! I love the parfait too.
Food builds relationships quicker than anything else.

TeaLady said...

Thank you for the wonderful thoughts.

Sorry about your cakes. Seems many had the same problem. But the two 'survivors' are pretty.

Mary said...

I understand totally what you are saying and how sweet of you to say it! As long as you keep posting on your blog, I'll keep coming to read it! (and comment unless I'm really short on time!)

Engineer Baker said...

*sniff* I'm jealous of you having such nice neighbors - people in my apt building aren't necessarily the most neighborly :) Your parfaits and cupcakes look absolutely perfect though, and I'm glad you had a couple survivors.

Melissa said...

It sounds like everyone had problems with this recipe. Your surviving cupcakes look so perfect, and I love that parfait - great idea!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Thanks for your heartfelt post! Great cupcakes and trifles! (and I cannot use the name/url identity on your comments to show my website address correctly, I wonder why?)

Tania said...

Wow - what a great post. I love to read about people who share the same views about parenting that I do! Being a mother is the best and the worst job but everyday brings more love into my life and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Your cakes look awesome. And we are having left over filling and berries tonight!! Might do them in some wine glasses like yours! So decadent!

Take care,

steph- whisk/spoon said...

it is so good to have someone you can hash the important stuff out with...i'm sure your neighbor appreciates your friendship just as much as you do hers.

great little cupcakes, and good idea to make trifle out of the "less perfect" ones!

kim said...

You are so sweet, Holly! (And snarky and spicy too :) ) I'm glad you have your neighbor to connect with in person, because as nice as it is to have everyone in the bloggy world, it's wonderful to have "in-person" human support too!
Your cupcakes are adorable, and I'm glad at least those turned out well:) I think we all need to make this one again to get a little more genoise practice!!

The Food Librarian said...

Holly, what a great looking cupcake and what a heartwarming post. Your neighbor is lucky to be your friend!

LyB said...

I love how you say that you have neighbors in the blogging community, that's how I feel too. :) Your cupcakes and trifle look delicious, I really like the sugary raspberries on top. :)

Jess said...

What beautiful cupcakes (so much nicer than mine) and a great post. I could relate to it on a bunch of different points - thank you for sharing this!

CB said...

Love this post. Seriously. Friendship is like a cupcake. So true. Thanks for sharing your cheesiness. Sometimes you just gotta embrace the cheese. I know I do. ;) Makes life more enjoyable.
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

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