hurricane take 2

A number of people warned me to expect various things in New York that I haven’t really seen come to pass yet. A Bostonian on my flight from Kelowna told me in great detail about proper subway etiquette and how to handle street people. Many people warned me it was an expensive place to live. The media prepared me with graphic description for bed bugs. Henry cautioned me that the city would be noisy.  And everyone warned me there would be far too many things to do. But no one warned me New York City had mosquitoes!

I know a mosquito bite when I get one. Especially since I have now killed two mosquitoes, unfortunately after they had already bitten me. I’ve had fleas and bed bugs before. But mosquitoes I can do nothing about but accept that I will look a bit lumpier than normal. I think… living in Berkeley was far better preparation for living in New York than I expected.

First day of grad school went well, I have now officially begun to become a historian. This will be an unusual path for studying international history, managing to be both course-load heavy and research intensive. Year 1 is in New York and year 2 will be in London. So far, I like my project and learning mandarin will be fascinating. Now if only I could have one of these right now…

Easy Vanilla Buttermilk Wedding Cupcakes – makes 14

Just a warning: I don’t believe in precision baking.

Stir the following dry ingredients together:
1 1/2 cups unsifted cake flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 generous t baking powder
1/2 t salt
(Does this look like snow to you too?)

Using a handheld mixer cut in:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
(This is one thing worth being precise about, let it sit on the counter for two hours until soft… you still may need to stir with a wooden spoon a bit so it forms a ball, but the goal is a nice even texture so don’t work the batter too much yet)

In a measuring cup, pour in 3/4 cup full-fat buttermilk. Eyeball it and pour about half of it into the batter, reserving the rest. Now you can blend that batter so it comes together and then becomes even and fluffy.

In the same measuring cup, crack two eggs in with the rest of the buttermilk. Beat this mixture together until the liquids are totally combined and no eggy streaks remain. Using a spatula, fold in half the egg mixture into the batter. Then add a teaspoon or more of vanilla, and fold in the remaining egg mixture. The batter should be silky and smooth.

Divide the batter into cupcake papers so each is a hair less than 2/3 full, or a hair more than halfway full. Bake for 22 minutes minimum, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a crumb or two. Better to overbake than underbake. Let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tray, and then for at least a half hour on a wire rack.

Modified with gusto from Smitten Kitchen and I have resigned myself to the fact that buttercream frosting will take a good few more years to perfect. With pleasure!

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