Every time my best friend, M comes to my house and spends some time in my room, she leaves some evidence. Back in high school, she left her phone. Then her watch. Then her books, cosmetics and a handful of other stuff I can’t even remember anymore.
Recently, she left her earphone. I let it laid tangled exactly where she left it for a week. Then when she came by to get it, she took my phone instead of her own phone. Today, after hours of laughing and hanging out, she left me a paper plane.
It was made out of a brochure from the supermarket we went earlier. And just like the rest of the stuff she left, I let that paper plane sit right where she put it. I know it was not something precious, not something she would call me later and made sure she left it on my place and did not lose it.
I left it there, even though knowing it is categorized as junk. I left it there, because it represent her presence in my room. That after a year not seeing her, she was here. Breathing and alive, kicking and laughing. There were some several tear drops too, but that didn’t matter.
We met in high school and managed to stay close across the seas and across the years (she went to the US while I stayed home) Our relationship are based on texts, Facebook message and occasional skype.
I was terrified at first, not knowing whether this friendship will withstand the distance and time difference.
Will our world suddenly become so different that we cannot relate to each other anymore?
Then I remember how exactly I got to know her. Once we realized we have something in common, we hit it off and decided to bake together.
The goal was simple. Baked a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and get it right. On the contrary of how classic and easy it may sound, it took us numerous amounts of frustration, sleepovers, sweats and hard work to get the perfect springy cake. We tried handful of recipes, tweaked, tried it again, and so on until we found the perfect version.
The whole high school students and teachers alike loved it that we decided to make little money out of it. I couldn’t remember in the end what we spend that money on, but what I do remember is that the cupcake gave me what money can’t ever, ever buy: friendship.
Every time I bake, devour and share this cupcake, it is a silent gratification for our friendship.
She’s flying back tonight to US and I have no idea when am I going to see her again, warm and vibrant in flesh. Safe travel, my friend. I”ll see you when I see you.
Mini Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
We weren’t so inclined on frosting that is tooth-achingly sweet, so this vanilla buttercream is sweet but on the stronger taste of butter and would melt in your mouth like one. We believed it pair very excellent with the cake, which both moist and springy.
Makes 48 Mini Cupcakes
1 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup of low fat milk
1 Tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup softened butter
2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C
In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, medium speed, cream the butter until fluffy and pale. Add the sugar by spoonfuls, waiting until it dissolves into the butter.
Add eggs one at the time, beating well after each addition.
In a bowl, shift the flours and combine with a whisk or fork. Turning down the mixer speed to slow, add the flour in four part, alternating with milk and vanilla. Scrape the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well combined. The batter would look thick and fluffy, like yellow clouds.
Line the muffin pan with paper liner and spoon the batter with teaspoons into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the top spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean for about 20-22 minutes.
Move the cupcakes to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.
To make the buttercream:
In a mixing bowl fitted with paddled attachment, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract.
Gradually beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl when necessary.
Ice your cupcakes.