And the celebrations keep on keepin' on! (Which is why I have not been blogging. Or at least, that's my excuse ;)) Last week was my friend's birthday (on Friday the 13th no less) but since we were all swamped, we celebrated with dinner on the following Wednesday at the Maple Garden Peking Duck Restaurant (one of our two standby dining places for girls' nights out--maybe we need to branch out. But it's so gooood!!!!) Let me just say, we in the girls club are all Asian, so you can rest assured that there is never any shortage of food (or any lack of putting food on each other's plates). Despite that (and knowing that they would be providing us with complimentary ice cream), I held firm to my belief that a birthday is not a birthday unless there is cake. And since I still had 4 bottles of Guinness left from my coworker's birthday, it seemed only natural and frugal of me to make some more Guinness cupcakes.
But before we got to the desserts, we had an entire duck (naturally, since this is a Peking duck restaurant!), followed by a plate of stir-fried crabs (not on the menu and something we get special--it's good to be regulars), then followed by rice, greens, and one of my favorite things of all time, jiao yian pai gu. In English, that translates to salt & pepper pork chops, but we call them Crack Chops because they are SO DARNED ADDICTIVE. I can't figure out how they do it, and I don't care, as long as I get to eat them.
Finally, it was dessert time, and I hauled out my box of mini Guinness cupcakes (because they are so tiny, I had to core out the center to make room for the ganache with one of my small piping tips. Do you know how hard it is to get cake crumbs out of a piping tip?!). Then the birthday girl presented a box of macarons made at her cafe--but wait, there was even more! She even brought along brownies and a couple of slabs of cake, and that was when the waiter showed up with our dish of ice cream (and obligatory fortune cookies and orange slices). At this point, we were all groaning and holding our bellies, but I took a break by taking some photos. You can kind of see in that macaron photo that the left side of the photo is somewhat brighter--that's because my dear friend was trying to assist me by using her Blackberry's screen as a light. We were definitely getting some funny looks from the adjacent table (who had already been staring at us, probably because we demolished so much food. Or was it because we were laughing like hyenas?)
I discovered that I have a second stomach for ice cream. And my fortune? "You should be able to undertake and complete anything." (Obviously they were talking about dinner!) (Although I ended up toting home more food than I had brought, including macarons, one leftover cupcake, a brownie, a slice of red velvet cake, and the duck bones, which are currently simmering away for soup!)
And as soon as I got home, I was back in baking mode, for my coworker's birthday. I had emailed her sister to ask what her favorite cake flavor was; the response was "I don't know about cake, but she likes tiramisu." Well okay then! I went with tiramisu cupcakes. I didn't actually eat any of these, but did taste the mascarpone filling--yum. I guess you can't really go wrong with mascarpone, alcohol, coffee, and sugar.
And here is your bonus shot, a tiramisu cupcake next to a tiny Guinness cupcake. A still life representing happiness and joy.