I find Mother’s Day a surprisingly difficult subject about which to write. I’ve started and stopped this post at least five different ways. I’m a mother (of five boys, thankyouverymuch) and I’m a daughter, and we’re talking about Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, so what’s the problem?
The problem is that there as many views on Mother’s Day as there are mothers in the world. Besides that, there is a whole group of folks who think Mother’s Day is a made up ploy to sell more greeting cards. How do you hit the right note for everyone? Short answer: you can’t.
I can’t speak for motherhood as a whole, because I’m just one member of the club, so I’ll just tell you what this holiday (made up or not) set aside to honour moms means to me.
- …my kids trying REALLY hard to get along. They try so hard, that sometimes they have to yell at their brothers who forgot to try really hard for a minute or two and were caught sitting on the couch.
- …tepid herbal tea in bed delivered by a small boy child “who made it himself” with a look of adoration on his face. (My husband usually follows this up with a secret cup of strong black tea. Good man.)
- …my husband and sons exhort each other to “WORK HARDER FOR MOM!” while attempting to clean the house with military enthusiasm.
- …offers of fishing complete with promises to bait my hooks for me.
- …the opportunity to get the first turn at ‘Halo’ first today, even though I’ve never played it before.
- …baby carrot and dry cereal snacks arranged artfully on plates.
- …handmade cards with silly drawings on them and a couple of discreet hearts.
- …the remote control is shoved reverentially into my hands after dinner with an encouraging, “Go ahead! You pick what we watch.”
I feel loved every day of the year by my husband and sons, but watching their efforts to make me feel extra special on Mother’s Day is especially touching. Does it end up being a spa day for me? Oh gosh no, but I figure my imperfect efforts at mothering and their imperfect efforts at showing their appreciation are pretty much the perfect match. This motherhood thing is crazy good.
After many requests for strawberry cake that DIDN’T use strawberry gelatin for pinkness and flavour, I finally got down to business and knocked it out of the park. The solution is thawing frozen strawberries and pressing them through a sieve to release the juices. This strawberry juice is reduced in a pan to make it stronger and then added to a standard white cake recipe. (White cake so no yellow yolks interfere with the gentle pinkness imparted by the strawberry concentrate!) Don’t pitch those strawberry solids that were left in the sieve, though! Whip those into the frosting! Granted, you won’t have a perfectly smooth frosting, but how can you go wrong with little bits of strawberry laced through your frosting? That all sounds good already, right? I didn’t leave it alone, though… I opted to make these cupcakes Strawberry Lemonade by adding lemon extract to both the cake batter AND the frosting. The result was a tender, mildly strawberry and mildly lemon cake with rich strawberry lemon frosting studded with tiny pieces of REAL strawberry.
It’s not WHIZZBANG strawberry like a cake mix would give you, but then a cake mix rarely tastes like real strawberries and lemonade as these cupcakes do.
Before I drop this most wonderful cupcake recipe in your lap, I want to offer a little prayer for all the mothers out there this weekend.
May you have the vision to enjoy every stage of motherhood.
May you have the chance to unwind, appreciate your blessings, and may a famished rabbit hop by to help you eat all of your baby carrot appetizers.
May the coffee or tea you are served in bed be as strong as the love and admiration your family has for you.
May the hands that offer you a cupcake be covered with honest dirt and not something worse.
Happy Mother’s Day, friends.