May 10, 2010


Well I hope everyone had a lovely and restful Mother's Day out there. Did I have a lovely and restful Mother's Day? Well, Lovely, yes, restful? Umm....

The kids had the wonderful idea of letting us sleep in and took themselves down on Sunday Morning to watch cartoons. Which is fabulous because, although I loved, LOVED going down to watch morning cartoons on my own as a kid, mine seem to think that it's no fun unless there's a parent there to watch with them. So when I heard them whispering to themselves as they tiptoed down the steps, I was kinda excited. And then I fell back asleep. The problem with this whole plan is that they woke the dog up and took her down with them, and then didn't let her out to pee.

The responsible mother in me here is saying "well of course they didn't, they are not supposed to open the door while we are asleep for ANY REASON AT ALL." The sleepy, grumpy, I-want-my-Mother's-Day-Lie-In mother however, was not super pleased when they came tearing upstairs yelling that the dog had peed on the couch.

So not super restful.

But from then on it was pretty nice. Will cooked a big breakfast and then we drove out to a local pick your own farm and plucked 15 pounds of strawberries from the field for this year's jam (and eating- Evelyn's dress and fingers may never be a normal color again...) And later I sat in the yard while the kids played, hulling and slicing the berries into my big preserving pot. They've been soaking in sugar and citrus juice all night and are looking pretty scrummy. I have to go pick up some more jars today before I really get down to it, but I'm looking forward to a nice, sticky afternoon of jam making.

But that was totally not the point of this post! Berries make me gaga I guess, no concentration. I've just about got our butter/egg stock down to normal after two baking projects over the last few days and my son's sudden passion for hard boiled eggs. The first involved making 50 cupcakes to take to school on Friday and the second was the craved Pavlova's which I made on Saturday for dinner guests.

For the cupcakes I used the yogurt cake recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini which I love love love because it's always moist and delicious. While the cake uses no butter at all I made up for it my mixing up a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream which, I'll be frank, has all the best things in the world in it, except figs, but other than figs- butter (lots), sugar, eggs (well, just the whites) and vanilla - and lemon this time because I wanted lemon butter cream.

I was very very well behaved and did not eat a single (whole) cupcake (there might have been a few bites from a broken on though). Although I probably ate enough buttercream to more than make up for it. But the kids each got one - they weren't supposed to have any at home but them Evie pulled one off the counter and licked it while my back was turned so I couldn't send it off to the school. Sneaky that one. Good thing her big brother caught her before she licked the whole batch. Or maybe that was the plan all along....I smell a conspiracy...

Because I was using up the egg whites I replaced most of the eggs in the cake recipe with yolks which gave it a nice dense texture that we all loved. Might be a permanent change. The buttercream recipe can be found here. I still need to try that French Buttercream that he shows which looks, well, divine, but raw egg yolks at a school event...probably not a good idea. Some other time.

The Pavlovas were pretty and simple and I forgot to take a photo of them when they came out of the oven because, well, we ate them.

But you know, they were pretty basic, egg whites and sugar beaten into submission and piped into little nests for a pile of strawberries and cream. I used Ina Garton's recipe which has never failed me, even on a humid day, which, this being Virginia, is a good thing.

So, off to jam-a-jam. Anyone else do something fun (or have someone pee on the couch) for their Mother's Day treat?

Yogurt Cake
adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini

I tripled this recipe to get the number I needed, it works beautifully as a cake, even without frosting.

1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 egg and 3 yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 T lemon juice
1 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Mix yogurt and sugar and add the eggs one at a time, whisking until combined before adding the vanilla and lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking powder and soda and salt and stir gently into the egg mixture just until combined. Pour into a buttered pan or cupcake liner and bake at 350 35 minutes (cake - the cupcakes took about 25) or until the tops are just beginning to golden. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan before popping it out.