Last week I decided to food blog at work in order to avoid thinking about my Spirituality presentation that was looming overhead like a dark cloud. I looked on Red Velvet's website for any clues, and there it was... Swiss Meringue Buttercream. What is this that you speak of?? I have only heard of regular Buttercream. I never realized there were other versions of the Home Ec class basic that my mom spent years teaching in high school. I had to find the recipe and try out this new discovery! I searched through dozens of blogs, looked at food blogger's favorites, looked through their pages, and then finally happened upon Annie's Eats, a blog that puts all others to shame. I see so much of myself in her. She's a busy woman, but finds time for her passion - baking. She doesn't do it commercially, but loves to bestow wonderful little confections upon those that she loves. So, I decided to peruse her inviting blog for something new to try.
It was then that I saw it...Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting and the perfect cake to go with it. I spent my week counting down the days until I was free and could try it out! I had to finish my presentation, read some chapters, work at my internship, and basically try to survive the stress. Needless to say, things in my personal life have been all over the charts (hence the subtitle - My search for balance in a completely unbalanced life). Some things are going on that I often wonder how I will ever come through the other side of, and then there's my wonderful new man, who just has a way of calming me and making me realize that I am a strong woman and can make it through this and anything else that comes my way. But, what do I always turn to when stressing out? BAKING!!! So, I kept this little daydream tucked away for the week as my motivation.
I survived the one-hour presentation on Spirituality - it actually went really well - and the chapters could just wait for another time...the weekend was in sight. I worked on Friday and then went to the gym with Beth (favorite new past time - going to the gym with Carrie and Beth and doing Zumba, Pilates, and Step Aerobics). That night, Josh (new man) and I took my mom out on the town and then took her to Texas Tavern (a Roanoke establishment) for some late-night food. I had fun, but I still just couldn't wait to spend my weekend in the kitchen trying out this recipe and others. I needed to be creative and inspired, and do something that has NOTHING to do with mental health, college applications, classroom guidance, breakups, angry teachers, studying, reading, writing, advising college students, or anything else that consumes my every day. Don't get me wrong, I love all of that stuff, but I haven't had a break since August 31, so I desperately needed some "me time". And "me time" = baking.
Well, Saturday came and went. Personal life things came up and I had to deal with them, so I decided to spend the afternoon making French Onion Soup because my heart and mind just weren't in the cupcakes. When I bake, I pour my sadness, happiness, frustrations, disappointments, anxieties, and love into the batter. Saturday just wasn't the right day because sadness, anxiety and disappointment would have ended up being the main ingredients and the final product would have shown that. (Who knew baking was such a difficult decision!?) So I decided to wait.
Sunday it was. I woke up looking forward to baking my cupcakes. I went to church with Josh where my mom met his parents (so cute) and then he and I went to lunch with my mom. I was starting to get anxious because I couldn't WAIT to start baking. Then, it was time to go to the house and get started. Josh grabbed Champagne and I went home and picked up Lola (important ingredients for a day of happy baking). Then I came back to my sister's and brother-in-law's house, where I'm housesitting. Let the baking begin!!!!! It took all afternoon. The butter had to cream for several minutes, then I added the sugar 1/4 cup at a time and let it work its magic a minute at a time. Suddenly, the stress started leaving me, the sadness didn't seem so sad, the happiness became joy, and everything started falling into place. All from baking. We took an intermission to have dinner with Josh's family, and the excitement began building again.
The next step was frosting...this new Swiss Meringue Buttercream I had been waiting all week to try! So when we got home, I immediately headed into the kitchen. It was a long process, but the outcome...PERFECTION!!! It was light, fluffy, rich, creamy, and SO much better than I remember! I couldn't have been more excited! I couldn't stop smiling and dancing in the kitchen knowing I had just done it! I had accomplished what I have spent the past year trying to accomplish!!!! The cupcakes were all out of the oven and cooled and we quickly topped them with the frosting and bit in...it was heaven. It was everything I needed and wanted it to be in that moment. With all that is going on, it's so great to know that I can dedicate myself to something and finally accomplish it. And so, tonight I get to sit in a blissful state of relaxation and accomplishment.
What next? Well, I still haven't incorporated Champagne into the cupcakes, I just drank it on the side, so next I will do that. Until then, I'm grateful to my sister for letting me use her house and her KitchenAid Stand Mixer and to Josh for enjoying this as much as I did! Next up...Champagne Cupcakes...the PERFECT Champagne Cupcakes...and perhaps one day I will share the personal struggle that was behind this latest kitchen marvel...or I may not. Stay tuned!
Happy Thanksgiving to my readers :)