Me, kids? Never. My friends’ kids? Sure, hand them over. If they start to dribble or throw up, here, have them back.
That just about sums up my reaction to babies in general. I hope it doesn’t sound too negative, as I love kids; I’m just not interested in having any of my own. As my friends move towards more advanced stages of their lives, I happily celebrate their growing families. Yesterday was a bit of a baby day, spent at Jaime’s place in Westmead, meeting little Jules for the first time. We propped him and little Austin up against some large cushions and although they largely ignored each other, they were so cute that I had to dive head first into a photo frenzy. Austin in particular, is so adorable because his face is starting to open up a little. He has chubbed up to a healthy 7kg, with bulging rose tinted cheeks you can’t help but bring two fingers towards, to pinch ever so gently.
As their respective mothers recount the horror stories about the birth (episiotemies or emergency caesareans, anyone?) and subsequent sleepless nights, I feel the need to take my hat off to anyone (fathers included) who is brave enough to bring such a fragile life into this world and is prepared to shoulder the responsibilities it entails.
I’m writing this post in support of Holly who is holding a blogging event to highlight the March for Babies fundraiser she and her family will be taking part in, in honour of her beautiful son, Cole. You can read more about Cole on her blog, and make a donation to March for Babies as well, if you wish. [Also, the roundup is finally here, if you would like to see what else people have cooked up for this event ]
These Lumberjack Cupcakes come from The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham. It’s a great little cupcake book with a fabulous basic vanilla cupcake recipe and frosting which I think is the highlight of the whole book. I’ve tried several of their other recipes, but the vanilla one is still the best. The lumberjack cupcakes are apple and date flavoured and are nice, though I wouldn’t call them a definitive recipe for their genre. Cupcakes are always crowd pleasers though, particularly small versions of, which are very appropriate for little kids. I have decorated mine with vanilla cream cheese frosting and a twist of candied orange peel.
Lumberjack Cupcakes :
(makes 24 regular cupcakes or enough mini cupcakes to feed a screaming party of kids)
600g Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
300g dates, pitted and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
200g softened butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine apple, dates, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water in a bowl. Cover with plastic film and leave overnight at room temperature to allow the apples and dates to soften and absorb some of the water.
Preheat oven to 180′C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon and ginger. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minuts. Add half of the castor sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining castor sugar and beat for 2 minutes or until sugar has almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Stir in the apple and date mixture using a rubber spatula. Add the sifted flour mixture and fold in until well combined.
Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.