We all have our favorite way to relax and clear our heads after a busy week at work. Some people listen to music or read a book, or perhaps practice yoga, while others prefer to unwind by doing something physical like running or cycling. For me, baking is a great way to relax. It gives me a sense of calm and provides an escape from the stresses of work, which is full of competing deadlines, ringing phones, and unanswered emails. I can focus on something entirely of my own choosing. I don’t have to stretch or hydrate, and I’m not concerned about how fast or how far I’m going.
The kitchen is my haven, especially early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, where I can focus entirely on my task at hand, which is to prepare a wonderful breakfast or afternoon treat. Early in the morning, when only the birds chirping just outside my kitchen window disturb the quiet, is my favorite time to practice my relaxation technique. I concentrate on gathering the ingredients for my chosen recipe in quiet solitude. Soon, the sound of the stand mixer, most likely creaming butter and sugar together, or the clanging of measuring spoons against the side of a bowl is intermingled with the chorus of birds. In my mind, I play with ideas on how I might tweak the recipe to make it my own. I mull over how to plate my creation and what props to use for the photos. With no distractions, I am focused only on what I’m doing at that moment.
After an hour or so of the stillness, I start to become refreshed. Soon, Chris will emerge from the bedroom, bounding with energy, and the day’s chores and activities will start. The quiet solitude will be replaced by the welcome hissing sounds of the espresso maker and the not so welcome noises from the washing machine or the dishwasher. As the aroma of something baking in the oven envelopes the kitchen, so will the sounds of laughter because there’s always laughter when my husband is around. I treasure those quiet moments alone, yet I also relish spending time with Chris, even if it’s just doing the everyday ordinary things. I’ve had my time to quiet time, and I’m relaxed and calm, ready to embrace the rest of the weekend.
True to form, I got up around 6:15 in the morning to make these wonderful passion fruit cupcakes. By 8:00, our house was full of activity – Chris is filling the washing machine full of dirty laundry while I wash the bowls and coffee cups that have quickly stacked up in the sink. We’re listening to music, trying to drown out our next door neighbor’s lawn mower. The quiet didn’t last long, but sitting on one side of the kitchen counter are some delicious cupcakes.
***NOTE: AS OF OCTOBER 2012, CHRISTINE’S BLOG IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE AND I DON’T HAVE THE
RECIPE FOR THESE CUPCAKES. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.***
I adapted this cupcake recipe from Christine of the now defunct blog, Angry Cherry, one of my favorite food blogs. She posted it on her blog the other day and I knew immediately that I would like it, and I was right. While I could not replicate the absolutely gorgeous butterflies, made from pastillage, decorating her cupcakes, I was able to follow her clear and well-written recipe. The cupcakes are so moist, and bursting with the tangy aromatic flavor of passion fruit, which is in both the cupcake and frosting. I followed Christine’s recipe exactly as she had written it, except I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract. If you look closely at the photos, you’ll see the beautiful little brown flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting. If you’re a fan of passion fruit, you’ll definitely enjoy these.
By the way, Christine recently finished pastry school and graduated at the top of her class. Way to go, Christine! Her blog is full of wonderful recipes, so make sure to had a look around for some sweet inspiration! You’ll be glad you did.
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