This past Sunday, the 13th Isaac turned 10 – double digits!!  How did that happen?  And next Thursday, the 24th, Eli will be a teenager, he will be 13 years old.  I will have a teenager under my roof and I am not at all sure how I feel about that. When they are young and innocent, they are sweet and loving, fun and easy, and adaptable.  Twelve year olds are hardly adaptable, so I am anticipating that a thirteen year old may be less adaptable.  Regardless of him having his own opinion (as he should), he is still sweet and loving.  Maybe I have nothing to worry about!


With both my boys being February babies(they actually had the same due date; February 20th), we chose to host a double birthday party. After they each made their guest lists, and the total equaled 38 kids, I had to think of something to do with 40 almost pre-pubescent boys.  I suggested enlisting 3-4 of our Bruinwood counselors (we go to family camp each summer  and one of the bonus’ of the week are the counselors), all U.C.L.A. students who are intelligent, playful, enthusiastic, energetic, loving and FUN!  The boys jumped for joy and immediately starting texting, requesting their favorites, both guys and gals.

After we secured the “entertainment”, we chose the park, created the menu and prayed for a sunny day(in February). I made guacamole, homemade salsa, cut up lots of veggies, got a flat of strawberries, picked out their favorite chips, filled the cooler with waters and juice, and ordered pizza. The only other request was cupcakes.  They couldn’t decide on one specific flavor.  It was a toss up.  We narrowed it down to three and they still couldn’t decided.  So, I threw up my hands and said I would make all three.

Eli’s first choice was the devil’s food cupckaes I made last year for his birthday.  I made the perfect butter cream which I used for the inside of the cupcake and the decorations and then finally, Rose Levy Beranbaum chocolate glaze for the top of the cupcake.  Isaac wanted the rainbow cake we made for Levi’s 5th birthday, but in a cupcake.  7 layers in a cupcake is a bit too much.  We chose two instead; blue and gold; Bruin colors!  Lastly, they both wanted red velvet cupcakes.  I made one of my favorite recipes with my traditional cream cheese frosting, adding a touch of cinnamon for some extra added flavors.  I love birthdays, I love celebrations.  I especially love these events when they come to my own playful, little boys!  60 cupcakes were devoured and everyone was joyous and had a great time!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
yield: 13 cupcakes

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetined cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. red food coloring
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
cream cheese frosting

• preheat oven to 325*
• beat butter and sugar in a standing mixer until creamy.
• slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.
• in a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, red food coloring, and vanilla to make a paste.
• add the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
• add half the buttermilk  and then half the flour. repeat the buttermilk and then the flour.
• turn the mixer up to high speed and mix until smooth. turn it down to low and add the vinegar and the baking soda. mix well.
• using a 1/4 cup ice cream scooper, fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 the way up.
• bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes came out clean.
• cool  completely before frosting.