August 15, 2012 marks the 100th birthday of one of the greatest personalities in all of culinary history: Julia Child. An exceptionally talented cook and incredibly charming woman, Julia Child remains one of my greatest inspirations. She is proof that with great dedication and persistence you can accomplish remarkable things. Always pursue your passion, and once you find it, never let it go. Never be hindered by failure, never be upset by the unexpected.
And so for all those home chefs and bakers, for all those who create with a passion even though it is sometimes met by fiasco: here are words of wisdom from Julia to keep you going (along with some cupcakes to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished). So help me commemorate one of the greatest epicureans to date! Happy birthday, Julia!
“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
“Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
1 cup GF Flour Mix*
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup hot water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 325°F and line a standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together GF flour mix, cocoa powder, sugar, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add in the mixed dry ingredients, beating until combined. Finally add in the hot water in a slow stream, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully incorporated.
Divide batter evenly among the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter until very soft and creamy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and salt, beating until smooth. Add in the vanilla and milk, and beat mixture on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. For a firmer frosting, add more powdered sugar; for a thinner frosting, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Pipe buttercream as desired onto completely cooled cupcakes.
*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch