This Sunday, May 10, 2009 is Mother's Day in the United States. This Sunday will also be the 10th anniversary of my mother's passing from breast cancer. I lost my mother when I was 29 years old. It was horrible and unexpected. My mother developed a backache that just would not go away. After about a month of struggling with the pain and when over the counter medication just did not work anymore, she finally went into to see the doctor. Turned out she had a tumor pressing against her spine. The source of the tumor was stage 4 breast cancer that had metastized. We have no idea how long my mother had cancer before her death, it could have been several month or even years. By the time of her diagnosis, the cancer had spread so invasively that there was no treatment, except to make her comfortable. Four months later on May 10, 1999, she mercifully left this earth. As sad as it was, I was grateful that she was out of pain and now with God. She faced her death bravely, responding to her terminal diagnosis with the simple statement, "Well, I've had a good life." I hope that someday I can say the same thing in the face of my leaving this earth too.
In honor of my mother, last Sunday May 3rd, I participated in Bake for Hope. This first ever nation-wide, 100% volunteer run, event is hosting hundreds of bake sales across the nation. The nation-wide bake sales run May 3rd - 9th, the week before Mother's Day, honoring mother's and women everywhere supporting a cure for breast cancer. 100% of the sales go to local Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliates. I found out about participating in this event through the meetup.com website. I signed up because I'm a pretty good baker and I thought this would be a wonderful way to honor my mother, by proactively raising money for breast cancer research. I did not know anyone involved with the event, but through a series of e-mail correspondence I meet a wonderful group of ladies, who were also inspired to participate. Our leaders for the bake sale here in Los Angeles were Lisa Pederson and Kelly Neilsen, who tirelessly organized our group. We selected the Hollywood Farmer's Market as our venue. We all baked and then showed up. It was an amazingly beautiful sunny Southern California day. We worked shifts, donning specially made Bake for Hope aprons. The people who attended the Farmer's Market bustled by and many were lured in to our brightly pink colored table filled with homemade bake goods. At the end of the day, our cookies, brownies and cupcakes raised a staggering total of $1,310.47!!!!!!!
There was no doubt that the event was a rousing success and I'm thrilled. Isn't wonderful how complete strangers can get together and create such a positive change in the world?! The generosity of the bakers and all of those who purchased from the sale is amazing and inspiring.
So for all of you who asked for the Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, here it is:
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup of red food coloring (I used the gel kind available at Surfas in Culver City, CA)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sifted cake flour (or if you don't have cake flour, use all purpose)
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Use cupcake liners and place in muffin pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together food coloring and cocoa powder. Then add to butter and sugar mixture.
4. In a small bowl, mix together buttermilk and vanilla. (I mixed these ingredients in the same empty bowl that I had mixed the food coloring and cocoa powder in step #3 above. It saves on clean up and the remnants of the food coloring get incorporated in the buttermilk and vanilla liquid.)
5. In a medium bowl, sift flour and salt together. (I don't own a proper flour sifter, so I used a fine mesh strainer and shook the flour through it. This actually works!)
6. Now you are ready to combine everything. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to the butter mixture. Use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients.
7. Now for a chemical reaction, in a small bowl add vinegar and baking soda together. It will fizz up. Gently fold into batter (Don't use electric mixer. Use a large spoon instead.)
8. Scoop batter into individual cupcake holders. I suggest using an ice cream scoop or small gravy ladle to prevent spilling. Only fill cupcake holders half way up. The cupcakes will rise to the top as they bake.
9. Bake cupcakes for about 20-25 mins. depending on your oven. Test cupcakes with a wooden tooth pick, and when it come out clean, they are done.
10. (Optional) When cupcakes are cooled, frost with a can of cream cheese frosting or any other flavor you like!
Copyright 2009 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.