RECIPE. Sep 30, 2011

Birthday Maple Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

My son turned one on Monday. I’m elated. I have very few “he is growing up so quick” feelings and many more “I’m so thrilled he is becoming a little person” feelings. We held his birthday party the week before at a local park and it was very low key. There were ribs, cornbread and cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes. I haven’t had much time to express my artistic desires and was immediately intrigued by the idea of making a cake out of cupcakes. I’m fairly proud to say I succeeded. On his “real” birthday we celebrated at our in-laws with a low-key but phenomenal dinner. As with most events that are transitional in nature, I took some time to reflect on what I have learned in the last year as his mother.

Here is what I realized: I have no idea what I am doing and just admitting that makes me feel lighter than air. The longer I am a parent the less confident I feel about what is right or wrong in general and feel more confident about is right or wrong in parenting my son. I am closer at being the kind of person I always strived to be due to surviving some of the most difficult moments during his infancy.

I have the patience of the dali lama (okay…maybe not, but I am getting so close). One of the most difficult parts of being a parent, that no one warned me about, is feeling so utterly helpless at times. Most of my exhaustion or irritation comes from dealing with my own shit that being a parent triggers, rarely from actually parenting my son. I have not lost myself but found parts of myself I thought were lost forever. I laugh and cry and feel with depth I’ve only read about.

My compassion and non-judgement is authentic and sincere. It now comes from a place of understanding instead of sympathy. I never knew I could accomplish so much and give so much of myself every single damn day. I really underestimated my potential for tolerating distress. Nothing is black and white and very few things will truly scar them for life.

I am elated, overjoyed to spend another year parenting this adorable boy. I have to remind myself to stay present because I get so impatient to find out who he is and what is happening behind those beautiful brown eyes.

While I know you may raise your eyebrows at the frosting, you absolutely must give it a try. It will not peak or stay stiff like typical frostings but it is really phenomenal. I used a traditional buttercream frosting for the cupcakes in the picture, in order to get it to stand up like grass, but I so wish I could have used this recipe because it really complimented the cupcakes perfectly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Whisk together milk and vinegar in a large bowl; set aside and allow to curdle for a few minutes.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in to a separate bowl and mix. Whisk the maple syrup, avocado, brown sugar, oil, vanilla and maple extract into the milk mixture.

Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients, stirring until large lumps are gone. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds the way. Bake 20-22 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

For the frosting: Peel and pit the soft avocados.  It’s important to use the ripest avocados you can get your hands on.  If the avocados have brown spots in the meat, avoid those spots when you scoop the meat into the bowl. Place the avocado meat into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment or use a hand mixer.  Add lemon juice and whisk the avocado on medium speed, until slightly lightened in color and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat.  Add vanilla extract until combined.  If not using right away, store in the refrigerator.  Don’t worry.  It won’t turn brown!