When my mom named me Alice, little did she know the woman she named me after would give me the special gift of baking for others from a place of love. I was named after a wonderful elderly neighbor named Alice Simondet, who met my mother in the 1960s at a neighborhood bus stop. Alice was a teacher and gifted baker living right around the corner from us. Although she did not have any children of her own, she lovingly embraced my siblings and me as if she were our grandmother.
Every year on our birthdays, Alice would bake us a homemade birthday cake. When the cake was ready, she would call our home and my sisters and I would race to her house to pick it up. It was an annual tradition we always looked forward to and one I always took for granted.
Alice was always baking something wonderful from her kitchen using the apples from her tree or the blueberries we would pick with her at a local farm. She showed me by example what it meant to bake with love and the gift it was to share it with others.
From the moment she opened her front door one could smell the most heavenly aromas wafting through her home. It was mesmerizing.
When I was small, it was hard to understand how special of a gift it was to receive a special birthday cake like the ones Alice made. But when they stopped, those memories were all I had left to remember Alice and all the ways she expressed her love to me.
These days when I bake for others, I do it the Alice way by baking from the heart, baking it from scratch, and baking from a place of love.
Today I have a buttercream frosting recipe for you that I use to decorate cupcakes and birthday cakes. It’s quite simple. Cream butter and confectioners sugar together with a little salt and cream. It is superior to anything you buy from a can.
I also have a great tutorial video above on how to decorate a Camellia, a petaled bloom peony-like flower, out of this buttercream, easily. Kids around 4th grade and older can make these flower decorations by themselves with a little adult oversight. These decorated cupcakes are great for birthdays, showers, and any special occasion.
If you have any plans to bake cupcakes soon, I invite you to use this recipe and tutorial to make a memorable and lasting impression. You know never how impactful your baking may be. Who knows–what Alice meant to me, you might become that person to someone else.
Recipe: Vanilla Cupcake Frosting Recipe
A popular vanilla frosting recipe for decorating cakes and cupcakes.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners sifted sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 kosher teaspoon salt
- 1-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter for thirty seconds on medium speed.
- Stop the mixer and add the sifted sugar. On the lowest speed, cream the butter and sugar together until all the sugar has been incorporated. Do not worry if it doesn't look like frosting yet.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt and increase the speed to medium and whip for 3 minutes.
- Stop and scrape the bowl down once and cream again for another minute. If the frosting is too thick, add up to 4 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream. It it is too thin, add additional sifted sugar.