birthday wishes…& strawberry shortcakes

20130213-083900.jpg

my Tunie B made me pancakes for breakfast & served them on Chanukah plates! Best Birthday morn ever!

so yeah…
Happy Birthday to me!
I am the whopping age of….39 today!
the other day…
I was thinking out loud to myself (because as you get older talking..out loud.. to yourself ..is a normal thing!)
that wow…
my 30′s has been one doozy of a decade.
in the last 9 years I have…
opened a successful restaurant that was my dream job for 8+ years
closed a restaurant.
wrote not just one cookbook – but 2 quite successful kosher ones..and started work on my third!
forayed into the new scary crazy world of blogging with 2 websites…. & it’s a real labor of love!
developed & wrote 100′s of recipes, for companies, magazine & newspapers…
Got married to my dream man, bought my dream home,
had a baby ….
lost my dream home, got sorta …divorced…turns out the dream…was all just a fantasy….
made great new friends, lost some dear ones..
the last 9 years with all the crazy ups & downs
feel like I have lived a FULL LIFE TIME…and I am not yet 40!
and as I enter the last year of my 30′s
I have just one “little” Birthday Wish…
that as I prepare to enter the next decade of my life…
Hashem (G-d) Please let my
every decision, action, & effort I make this year….
be ones that are ALL
leading me FORWARD in the right direction!
so Happy Birthday to me….
looking forward to a great day…heck a great YEAR! :)

20130213-082135.jpg

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Most years for my birthday my mother would make this strawberry shortcake. It is the best one I have ever eaten & truly the simplest of recipes to make. In Tastebuds it was on the menu from day one & we used the sponge cake part of this recipe all the time for other delicious cakes & cupcakes.

This year I am making this recipe in cupcake form for me & my Tunie B. to enjoy!!

For the sponge cake:
7 eggs separated
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
¼ cup orange juice
1 cup flour
3/4cup sugar
For the strawberry cream topping:
1 container whipping cream
1 ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Confectioners’ sugar

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate the eggs and place in individual mixing bowls. Using a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until mixture turns creamy and lemony colored. Continue beating on low speed and add the baking powder, oil, vanilla extract and grated lemon zest until combined. Add the orange juice, a little at a time, and then the flour. Beat on low speed until just combined.

Beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks.

Tip: You will know that your eggs whites are stiff when you dip the whisk into the egg whites and slowly pull up; the egg whites will form a peak and stay that way.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg white batter into the egg yolk batter until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX

Divide batter into mini cupcake holders evenly, continuing until batter is used up.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
In a food processor or blender, add strawberries and confectioners’ sugar and blend. The amount of confectioners’ sugar you add depends on the sweetness of the strawberries you use. With a mixer, whip the cream until stiff. Add the strawberry mixture and mix until the cream turns a light pink. If the cream becomes too liquidy, add more confectioners’ sugar. The starch in the sugar helps absorb the liquid.
To prepare the cupcakes, using a pastry bag fitted with star tip or a knife, frost top and decorate with fresh strawberries.