My mom loves to tell me that I should donate my brain to science. I’m an idea factory; one that’s so restless that I should sit on my hands to keep still, and bite my tongue to avoid overwhelming any one else around me. Im easily excitable, and the smallest gestures make the biggest impact on me. I’m a lover and a giver, but sarcasm is my second language — it’s quite the combination and you never know where it will lead me.
Around Easter, I bought my mom and I a Cricut machine, so that we could make unique and homemade gifts for our friends and family. Admittedly, we haven’t used it a ton, only to make a couple of cards and witty wine glasses. To date my mom’s proudest gift she made was a wine glass that read “Liquid Therapy.” Well, two days ago, a dear friend of mine’s birthday was coming up, and I kid you not, we spent hours figuring out the perfect saying. Eventually, I came up with “Corks are for Quitters.” There’s a long story to that, but my friend and I both take corked bottles of wine as an insult. My mom and I hustled to the store, bought a variety of colors, debated for entirely too long on materials, and spent too much money quite frankly. An $8 wine glass with a funny saying from Target was sounding quite appealing, but we were determined to make our own even if it cost me fifty bucks. We rushed home and my mother tapped in to her patience as we tried, tried, tried, and tried again to get it right. Eventually, we were back at square one and using the deep purple material that we had on hand since the start. But! It was a success!
My recent surgery (I know, I know, you’ll get sick of hearing that soon) threw wrenches in plenty of my plans. But one that I was extremely looking forward to was floating on giant flamingo and unicorn inflatable floats — intended to be used in a pool, but a river was the plan — for my friends birthday. Long story short, my father laid down the law and let me know he was not in favor of me spending time on the water with a fresh incision and stitches. I listened to my dad. Shocker. While I threw a small pity party, I also managed to get my shit together to still celebrate Solomon’s 42nd birthday. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he replied with the standard, “Ice cream cake.” While my inner child was elated, I was also disappointed with the lack of kitchen creativity.
I brainstormed on all that Solomon is. I reflected on our many mimosa Sundays, Dolly Parton duets, his pink Montucky Cold Snacks hat, witnessing his debates as a conservative gay man, all of our many ridiculous holiday parties — and eventually decided that Peach Sangria cupcakes would be the winner for his birthday cupcakes. My mother, being the angel that she is, ran around town and grabbed what I needed, then stopped in ye ol’ Dairy Queen for an unmarked classic ice cream cake.
I danced around the kitchen, and made what I’m sure to be the biggest mess I ever have when baking. I measured things propped against the counter with a slight lean to the right. You can blame the Dilaudid for that. A little splash here, and an extra splash there, followed by more batter missing the cupcake tins than making it in them. You can thank the Valium for that. To my surprise, the cupcakes rose perfectly, came out flawlessly from their liners, and remained the perfect light golden hue in the pink cupcake liner, resembling a peach. This made my OCD and Martha Stewart tendencies so happy.
We made the ever so healthy dinner of mile high nachos and took the ice cream cake out to thaw. Originally, I wanted the wine glass to be black and gold, with black and gold balloons, and gold ribbon around one of his go to bottles of wine. Reality, the wine glass lettering ended up purple, there were no balloons, but by God, I was still going to use black and gold glitter on that ice cream cake. In barely legible writing, I scribbled in sloppy cursive, “you’re not old, you’re vintage.”
And things turned out just peachy.
Peach Sangria Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Fresh Citrus Cake
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners. In separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, combine yogurt, olive oil, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a stand mixer and combine until smooth. With mixer running, add one egg at a time. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry mixture. Mix until smooth. Fill cupcake tins until they are half way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool.
Sparkling Wine Jelly
2 cups wine
3 cups sugar
2 splashes lemon juice
1 (3 ounce) package liquid pectin
-Combine wine and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and pectin and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove jelly from heat, skim off any foam, and transfer to a heat-proof air tight container.
1 cup sparkling wine jelly
1/4 cup peach schnapps
-Whisk the sparkling wine jelly until smooth, stir in peach schnapps. Transfer to squeeze bottle.
1 cup shortening
2 lbs confectioners sugar
1/3 cup peach schnapps
-Beat the shortening until fluffy. Slowly added confectioners sugar, and peach schnapps. Slowly add more peach schnapps if needed for desired consistency. Put into piping bag.
-Core each cupcake with a small pastry tip and fill the cavity with the jelly filling. Frost each cupcake and garnish with a peach cube.