Goals are… important. Resolutions, on the other hand, aren’t so important. They’re just annoying, especially when I go to the gym and have to wait for like an hour for the treadmill during the months of January and February because everyone decided that losing weight is a resolution. So instead of resolutions, I told myself that this year, I’d set mini goals for myself along the way. I’ve made a mental (now tangible) list:

  • Get explored on Flickr. That’d really make my day.
  • Break through a 9 min mile. Wait, I did that this morning. Let’s change that to break my old PR of 8:27 min/mile. (Yes, I know it’s a pretty crappy time, but… gotta go from worst to worse before I can get to better.)
  • Experiment baking with odd ingredients through formulating my own recipes- like sesame cupcakes, thai ice tea ice cream, mud pie cupcakes.

[33/365] Butter, sugar, and paper

A couple of nights ago, I baked cupcakes in celebration of, oh, just about everything. Like, having job in a dreadful economy and actually loving it. Or the fact that Clare makes dinner and a dessert on Sunday and then we watch a movie on her 42 inch TV. Or, that pretty soon, this blog will be published into a good looking book like one of those up there.  Okay, fine- the real reason I baked is in celebration of my senior analyst finishing stale reports, but that doesn’t sound too exciting to anyone who doesn’t know what a stale report is.


There seems to be a new cupcakery opening up every other month in New York City. If your eyes just widened and you get all confused but just want to eat a darn cupcake, Billy’s Bakery is one fine cupcakery to start from. If you love carrot cake, their carrot cake cupcake is to die for. And while their vanilla on vanilla isn’t exactly the perfect cupcake, it hits the spot- better than its rival Magnolia does, anyway.

Thank you Martha Stewart, for inviting Billy onto your show, and sharing his recipe!

Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes
from his debut on Martha Stewart

The following recipe makes around 30 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cupcake Recipe:

*This is much easier if you have an electric mixer. I didn’t and it was painful.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In a bowl, combine both flours, the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix (on low speed if in a machine) until combined. Then add the butter in small chunks (like about the size of a tablespoon) and mix until just coated with flour. If you’re doing this by hand, it’s easier to sort of cream the butter a bit first just so that it softens a tad bit.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. If you’re using a mixer, speed it up to medium, and add the wet ingredients into the dry in THREE parts. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you’re mixing by hand, well, get ready to mix fast.

Don’t overbeat it. Just beat until everything is incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

billy's cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting:

You can get Billy’s buttercream frosting from the Martha Stewart link above, but since I thought using a stick of butter (I halved the recipe) was bad enough, I used your traditional cream cheese frosting. Simply take a 12 oz packet of softened cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of softened butter, and around 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, and beat the heck of out it (first mixing the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then adding the sugar). Then frost.

One day, I will learn how to properly frost. Make that another goal.

Photo du jour: Alternative uses of Swedish fish- for splash photos!

[32/365] Splish splash