the bear and i are usually anti-v-day. he sent me something our first v-day together, and we might have exchanged cards for the 2nd one. so contrived, and we do both do a pretty good job of letting each other feel the love every day, if i do say so myself.
except lately, we haven't been so good about planning adventures together as we usually do. we've been homebodies, or going out individually with our respective friends but not together. in an effort to get out and do newish things for and with each other, we decided to make an effort for the 6-monthiversary since it was near v-day but not ON v-day, so we could celebrate us a little earlier and beat out the crowds. he did the chocolate-covered strawberries, we did a few dine LA restaurant week meals out, and i promised to bake him some cupcakes the weekend after. i bought a muffin pan off of our registry but haven't really baked since before the wedding, so i figured it'd be a good chance to try baking something from scratch.
oh, and the night of, i brought home take out from one of our favorite, casual, italian places near my office (fritto misto, freshly made spicy linguine, artichoke-stuffed gnocchi...drooool). it was delicious, but i didn't get home until 8:30. apparently a TON of people do take out on v-day, too. the b[e]artender was at home, waiting for me, and had quite a few drinks on an empty tummy while waiting for me to get home. after inhaling our food, i fell asleep on the sofa before 10 PM. the bear woke me up, and supposedly i got up and went to bed. so rho-mahn-tee-cahl are we, non?
oh! the cupcakes? pretty standard. the bear requested yellow cake with sweet chocolate frosting, so i pulled a recipe for "gold cake" and chocolate buttercream frosting from this book, a birthday gift from skims a few years ago. it has the cutest illustrations by the same artist (she did illustrations for target? when?) who does the illustrations for daily candy.
the two recipes i've tried so far have come out great and make just enough batter for one, small 8" cake or a dozen cupcakes.
i overfilled each muffin cup and only got 9 this time, though. 9 very tall ones. thank goodness from-scratch cake batter is thicker so that it domed nicely rather than squelching over unattractively once it rose above the rims of the cups.
frosted + sprinkled, since i don't have fancy frosting mechanisms and was too lazy to cut up a ziploc bag.
yes, that's a vodka tonic in the background with the most fragrant lime that looks like a lemon from MIL's backyard. don't worry, i didn't drink until the oven was turned off.
after all that, we discovered the bear likes moist, yellow cake from betty crocker cake mix along with the frosting in a can. upon eating a cupcake, he said, "this is the type of cupcake you like." i liked the cake, indeed. light, fluffy, not too sweet, and even flavorful somehow for yellow cake. i'm not sure about the frosting as i am still fasting chocolate. :(. next time, i'll save time and do cake mix for him. after taking turns beating an egg white, the bear said i could get a mixer. any suggestions on a good, solid hand mixer anyone? i am not into clutter, and that is what the kitchenaid is to me until i can design my own kitchen with appliance garages to keep it out of sight. plus i don't bake/cook enough to warrant such a pricey mixer purchase.
oh, and while waiting for the cupcakes to bake, i did this to my smelly, pre-minced garlic:
get your minds out of the gutter. i found this handy tip for ginger, where you roll it up, freeze it, and break off chunks as you need. i figured i would try it with garlic as well. i think i made my logs too thick, though. oh, and that garlic is not "marinated." it's grated/minced fresh and stuck in a tub. most koreans can go through that tub fairly quickly, but as you can see, my garlic's already turning into a not-so-great color, so freezer time it is! and yes, i know that's a high price to pay, but non-stinky hands and not having to clean all the tiny bits out of our garlic press make it worth it.