boy, was i deluded or what! my floors are never immaculate. there is no quiet, there are almost no naps and sometimes there are no meals, cheerful or otherwise. these are especially hard. the days she won't eat are about as fun as gum surgery. the days when you just beg your lucky stars for a bite of anything. and that's how the cupcakes fit into the picture.
i needed something to fall back on when all else failed, that wouldn't make me feel like the worst mother to ever walk this earth. i turned to ellie krieger's apple muffins, i've made them before and i knew zhara liked them. only this was a day hell bent on getting worse. half way through the prep i realize i had no buttermilk. relax, i thought, just use sour cream. but there wasn't enough of that either. so i used a mix of sour cream and mascarpone in the end, and it did the trick, but it wasn't any great improvement so i'd suggest sticking to the original. i skipped the topping as zhara doesn't go for it but did not adjust the sugar quantity in the batter. it's exactly as sweet as i like it. it's really a great recipe, between the whole wheat flour and applesauce and diced apple, all stuff that's good for you.
for dinner we went through our whole routine, me offering, her refusing until i fold and break these out. she took a bite, then a second... then she clamped her mouth shut. to my great dismay, the muffins didn't fly. hence the cupcakes. the cupcakes made it! and today the leftovers were eaten after dinner.
1 cup mascarpone
3 tb pistachio paste
1 tb confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
cream the mascarpone with the sugar. mix the pistachio paste well to blend in separated oils. mix into the mascarpone. add heavy cream and whip gradually increasing speed until you have a fluffy mixture. pipe onto cupcakes. decorate with candied orange zest and/or violet petals. (i'm not a complete filistine: candied violets are a great addition, they've a subtle but complex aroma.)
ellie's muffin recipe says it yields 12, but it has to be a typo. i got a clean 24, i made 12 regular ones and 24 mini, because zhara loves the small ones. do not substitute the whole wheat pastry flour - it provides a wonderful nutty background; any neutral oil will work if you don't buy canola; keep them in the fridge but remove half hour before eating so the frosting can come to room temp. they really are excellent, a very delicate flavor combo, moist with apple and a bit chewy from the whole wheat. i loved the frosting, it was silkier than i'd expected and went just great with the apple. plus, it beats hot dogs by a long shot. it's not like i'm bitter or anything. sigh.