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This time of year – dance recital time – is extremely stressful at the best of times. But this year? When combined with other job responsibilities, wrapping up baking school and my work term? Cripes. I actually heard my body creaking yesterday. I thought it was someone else’s lame body, and then I realized I was alone in the car, so it had to be mine.
My friend, Susan, once sent me some helpful tips for dealing with all that dance recitals can throw at a ballet teacher. I’m finding these suggestions particularly soothing this year, and I’m actually thinking about implementing
some all of them today – recital day.
Susan’s Recital Wisdom:
- Dress the cute little primary dancers in pink fairy costumes or something. Lots of glitter and fake wings made out of old tights pulled over coat hangers. Leave the older kids offstage if things start to go badly. The little cuties always steal the show. They are your money winners, my friend.
- Put LOTS of makeup on the uglies. I know you like kids, but some are just not born with looks, so lots of lipgloss and mascara on the ones who aren’t lookers. And tape back ears if you have to…
- Have a big bowl of candy that you can throw into the audience as a distraction if needed. One of the kids could go on fire or start to cry or something, so candy could help. Maybe a fire extinguisher would be a good idea too – especially if you have some flammable costumes or chain-smoking teenagers. (Kids today tend to be bad-asses, you know.)
- Have a good lighting person. Give them the “OK” to turn the lights out if a child poops their pants or something. Or if someone falls off the stage. Then wait 10 minutes, and start the next act as if nothing has happened. (If it is being video taped you could send the footage in and win $10,000, and take a vacation in Scotland.)
- Wear tap shoes on opening night. If it is total crap, you may need to perform yourself. Riverdancing might go over well in a pinch. Or some Ukrainian clogging. Whatever… I trust your judgement.
- You could try handing out free booze to the audience. That might make them more mellow. (But it could lengthen bathroom line-ups.)
People, it pays to have smart friends. Actually, I’m just realizing that most of that advice could be applied to your next dinner party…
Hey, I made you some mini cupcakes. Actually, like every recipe that has appeared on this blog since I started baking school, I made you these mini cupcakes months ago. It is the last of my stockpiled recipes and photographs. Things will soon slow down, and then we can spend some more time together. I haven’t even seen your bathing suit yet! On the plus side, I’ve learned a crapload about baking this year, and I can’t wait to make you as smart as I am. Kidding! That would be impossible.
This recipe makes about 24 mini cupcakes – that’s the number of wells in many standard mini cupcake pans. Leave the lemon and lavender out, and you’ll be left with a classic white cupcake. Leave ’em in and you’ll sound sophisticated. You could top these with leftover German Buttercream as I did, or with a classic buttercream. Or you could make a lavender infused buttercream! Don’t panic. You can do this. You’re just taking your favourite American buttercream recipe to the next level. Let’s say your recipe calls for 2-4 tablespoons of milk or cream – fairly standard, n’est pas? Whelp, you can put that cream into a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender, cover and let it soak overnight. Then use the cream as you normally would in the recipe – I’d strain the lavender out before using. Voila! Lavender infused buttercream.
See? I told you I was smart.
. . .
Yields about 24 mini cupcakes.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup milk
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Measure out all of your ingredients. Prep your muffin pan – with pan greaser or mini-cupcake liners. Note: if you leave out the lavender and lemon zest, and you’ll have a classic white mini cupcake.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a mini-cupcake pan(s).
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand-held mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste, lavender and lemon zest.
Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, mixing well and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. (The addition of the flour mixture and milk will go as follows: 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the milk, another 1/3 flour mixture followed by the remaining milk, and then the final 1/3 of the flour mixture.)
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin wells. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan to cool completely on wire racks.
Don’t forget to enter! You could win a prize!
Entry deadline: May 31, 2013