Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Her name is Robin Grant. She is one of the most talented, most hilarious people I have ever known, and I am grateful to call her a friend. She always keeps me on my toes with her texts, pictures, new ideas and creativity. She decided that to ring in her birthday this year, we would celebrate by going rollerskating!! Ummm…HELLO???!! AWESOME. Her husband rented one of the party rooms complete with a sheet cake with roller-skates on it, pizza, Diet Coke and Sprite! We suddenly all became 12 years old again and were swept back to our childhoods…to high socks and skate rentals, trying to remember how to stop and not fall, dodging the innocent young children skating carefree to Taylor Swift.
Here is a picture of Corky (left), Robin (in the middle) and me holding hands – just like the good ol’ days when you grabbed your best friend’s hand and held on for dear life. This was a blast, and such a breath of fresh air!!
Robin is gluten free, so I made her some gluten free cupcakes and decided to dress them up a bit for her birthday surprise. I originally was planning on making a cupcake bouquet for her in a potting plant, but because the gluten free cupcakes are so fragile, they kept falling apart! At 11am today I started freaking out because I had a bunch of flower cupcakes and they weren’t holding in the bouquet! I immediately got in the car and headed to Michael’s. I thought – well, maybe I can make it look like they were just “planted,” so I went for a “garden” rather than a potted plant. And that’s exactly what I did!!
To create your own cupcake garden, simply pick out some cupcake holders that look like flowers, and a rectangular basket. I also got some styrofoam to place the cupcakes on. Fill the holes around the styrofoam with green tissue paper. Place the cupcakes in and fill in any holes with tissue paper. I also found a watering can, and it would be really cute to put a carton of milk or bottled water in the there if you’re giving as a gift. (I found everything at Michael’s.)
Make sure to check out Robin’s awesome blog – Sing Fly Love. She’s a brilliant writer, and you will love following her adventures and creations!
GF VANILLA CUPCAKES
- ¼ cup dairy-free butter substitute, softened (or real butter, if you eat dairy; you may also substitute coconut oil)
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar (substituting brown or coconut sugar will change the color and flavor of the cupcakes)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of your choice, without gums
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dairy-free milk (I use almond milk, but any milk of your choice will work – dairy or dairy-free)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line 12-section muffin pan with paper liners (or omit liners and grease the pan, if you prefer)
- In a mixing bowl, combine butter substitute and sugar and beat until smooth sugar begins to dissolve a bit.
- Add eggs and vanilla; stir until mixture is uniform.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; stir.
- Pour in milk; stir, then add remaining flour and stir until batter is smooth.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan, dividing evenly between sections of pan.
- Bake 12-15 minutes, just until cupcakes rise and turn light golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven to cool, then frost as desired.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
- Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
- Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
- Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
- Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.