Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes and Vanilla Ice Cream

Sunday was my dad's 54th birthday, and we had a lot to celebrate. He recently had a health scare, but is doing well now. I'm so happy to have him in my life. My dad is such a character. He's constantly cracking corny jokes and goofing around. As a teenager he once pranced around in a bikini of his own making--two bandaids and a jockstrap--in front of his sisters' dates.
For his birthday I planted some flowers and tomato plants in his backyard, made him a tooth cross stitch (he's a dentist), baked some fabulous strawberry cupcakes (if I do say so myself), and whipped up some vanilla ice cream.

The cupcakes recipe came from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose. They are "Ponchatoula Strawberry Cupcakes" and are described as "really pink." Now, I think these cupcakes might be very appropriate for a little girl's 5th birthday party or for a ladies' tea, but a for a middle-aged manly man (Dad hunts just about everything) it's a lot of pink. I told myself not to worry. Dad isn't too picky, plus it is strawberry season after all.

I only made half of the recipe because we were only having a few people over for Dad's birthday, and I didn't want gobs of extra cupcakes hanging around. Also, despite my best intentions of reading through the recipe the day before and running out to the grocery to pick up any items I needed, I actually woke up Sunday morning and just starting baking. What? I quickly realized I had no cake flour, buttermilk, almond extract, or orange zest. So I just substituted the heck out of the recipe and you know what? The cupcakes were delicious. The cake was soft, tasting of strawberries (of course) and lemon. The icing, though runny, was incredibly pink (from all of those ripe strawberries) and sweet. They were definitely a hit! Even my sister, who regularly proclaims her belief that fruit should be kept out of desserts, ate one.

We paired the cupcakes with vanilla ice cream that K and I made. It was very creamy, flecked with vanilla, and looked pretty next to those pink cupcakes. The recipe is Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia-Style from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. It was super easy because Philadelphia-style has no eggs, it's just vanilla-flavored cream and sugar whipped up in an ice cream maker. I loved the taste of this ice cream and the simplicity of making it, so I definitely plan on making it again.

Happy Birthday Dad! I hope it was a good one!

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