On Izzy's first birthday, I insisted on having big party. At the time I thought it was more for me but now when we look at the pictures together I think it was for both of us. I didn't have to think about what was for dessert because I knew I would bake the cupcakes. What I hadn't counted on was the fact that we were living in a rental apartment in Jersey City with a less than fantastic kitchen, never mind the electric oven that I had rarely used.
I still managed to produce more than 30 cupcakes, along with an entire picnic menu (which I will get to later). I remember I had to beg A. to take Izzy out of the apartment and the flour was flying everywhere. It was all worth it for the moment when Izzy stuck his fingers in the frosting, one of his first tastes of a real dessert.
This party set a precedent for his Second Birthday. By then we were living in our house with a lovely kitchen. This time, Isadore was part of the birthday planning and he picked cupcakes for dessert. I think I decided to try the Magnolia recipe that year. They were also a success but I began to think I needed something better.
Third Birthday it was time for a different recipe. So much for having honed my cupcake baking skills. I just couldn't keep well enough alone. Izzy had a distinct request for both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with blue frosting, only blue. So this time I tried Billy's recipe, after having tried the ones K. had made for T.'s party. I made both chocolate and vanilla though I tried to fill the chocolate ones and it didn't really work out. These cupcakes seemed to be a cross between Magnolia and Fanny at Chez Panisse. At the time, Billy's topped the list and I decided I needn't look any further.
Yet here I am today, on Izzy's fourth birthday, ready to report another change. Izzy requested vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting. I immediately searched for Billy's recipe but when I looked at it it seemed impossibly unhealthy. These cupcakes were for his schoolmates, to be consumed in the morning. Wasn't there some way I could tweak them? I chose to substitute some whole wheat flour for some of the white, which is something I have done with great success in other recipes. In this case, it was merely a mild success. Indeed, Izzy seemed to enjoy them and I am sure that the purple and green cream cheese frosting helped. I however, thought they were a smidge too dense.