beautiful cupcake trio

What a sh**show.

Mr. Paddy loves to bake. He is always asking me or Grandma to bake with him and I am generally more than happy to oblige. This weekend was a busy one, we had family visiting Saturday which meant I spent the morning running around trying to get a day’s worth of chores and errands done in just a couple of hours, I then made a (delicious) lasagna and entertained our guests once they arrived. But we had a little bit of free time in the afternoon, so I decided to go ahead and make some cupcakes with my little pastry chef. We made a delicious vanilla cupcake and the plan was to make a strawberry buttercream. Paddy had asked for chocolate frosting on top with pink frosting inside. Thinking this was more than I wanted to take on we compromised on just pink on top.

And that is where the fun ended.

We finished the cupcakes in the late afternoon. We decided that it would be better to make blackberry buttercream instead of strawberry and agreed to make it the next day. And oh what a day that turned out to be. Paddy threw his first tantrum at 7:30 am, then another at 8:15, and another at 8:30. We made it through breakfast and had a conversation about appropriate behavior and what we can do to calm ourselves down. After that, the morning seemed to be heading in a better direction, so we decided to push forward with the frosting.

My darling son lasted about two minutes in the kitchen before melting down into tantrum number four. Silly me for telling him to stop touching the cupcakes. This turned out to be the greatest tantrum of the day, fully loaded with screaming, yelling, banging doors, and kicking! Yay toddlers. By this point everyone was completely exhausted and making frosting was definitely off the table.

After a good night’s sleep, we tried again after dinner on Monday. Paddy was in a less volatile mood and had just gotten a package in the mail from Grandma (which should explain the bathing suit). I told him on the way home if his behavior was good and he used his listening ears all evening we would make frosting. And we did this time!

Paddy Pastry Chef

Paddy’s interest and attention are both growing. He pays much closer attention and asks questions about the process. I love explaining each step to him and letting him do more and more of the work each time we bake. It is a wonderful practice for me to let go of my controlling and perfectionist tendencies. Plus, with a nearly-six month old in the house, it is wonderful when I get a little time alone with my baby boy.

Paddy Pastry Chef Paddy Pastry Chef

About the cupcakes though: Vanilla Cupcakes with olive oil and Blackberry Buttercream The recipe called for “light oil” and suggested as an option very light olive oil. I decided it might be fun to use regular extra virgin olive oil. It tasted great! The batter had a strong olive oil flavor, but once baked it became much more subtle.

For the buttercream, I used a simple recipe…butter and powdered sugar and added some fresh blackberries that had been pushed through a sieve to remove seeds. The color was fabulous, but the blackberry flavor was not as strong as I hoped. The Mister suggested I start with a blackberry reduction next time. While more labor intensive, I think he might be onto something.

beautiful cupcake trio

By Sunday afternoon I thought the unfrosted cupcakes were going to end up in the garbage, but I slept on it and decided to take my chances with the monster. It was a good call, as these turned out almost as delicious as I expected them to be.