honey buttercream and cinnamon cupcakes

Birthdays seem like a pretty decent indication of where we are in life.  By this I mean, you can look at one of your past birthday celebrations, and sort of pinpoint a general idea of what your personality might have consisted of.  For instance, when I was turning 12, my mom organized a scavenger hunt at the Dulles Town Center Mall. That’s right: there were two teams of teenyboppers, all of us tearing through the fluorescent lighting wearing our Vans sneakers and pursuing cleverly designed clues.  One clue required us to try on Halloween masks and get a photo. It was a good time.

This past Saturday, I spent the afternoon and early evening celebrating the birth of my good friend Rachel. Rachel and I met when she was directing her senior project, a short film about a MPDG named Atlanta. Atlanta hops into this dude’s car and forces him to drive her around all the place while she robs banks, steals fruit, and points guns. Rachel cast me as the girl, so the two of us, plus a cluster of our friends, spent the spring of senior year driving around and shooting footage in the parking lots of Mexican restaurants. This was also a good time.

While I’m rattling off these blissful moments, let me take the time to focus on Saturday, and the birthday of my dear friend. Rachel is a flower child at heart, one of those beautiful blondes who dances in the street and wears daisy crowns for no reason. She is a modern woman with an imagination that rivals that of Sarah Crewe.    And what better place to celebrate imagination than at the Bungalow?

Reasons why I love the Bungalow

-It looks like a classic, 70s-style beach house, and decorated with all sorts of tropical antiques. There are old-style surfboard mounted on the walls, a wooden sign that reads “CAMP,” and rooms lined with bookshelves and fertility vases.  I like to pretend it’s my house.

-You can hang out there in the daytime. I am slowly turning into a grandma and prefer to do my more youthful activities early in the day.

-Everyone wears beach clothes. I love beach clothes.

Reasons why I don’t love the Bungalow

-Drinks are practically a million dollars.

-You have to wait in line to get in.

That being said, with a group of good friends, the place is pretty fun. We started out on the floor of Rachel’s bedroom, painting out nails with glittery colors and munching on honey and cinnamon cupcakes.(I’ll get to those in a minute.)  The afternoon progressed as we moved to Bungalow, where we managed to snag a sweet lounge area and talked over tiki drinks.  We also tried to read the books off the shelves, but they were glued down. Don’t even get me started on that.

When hunger pains developed (cupcakes will only go so far!), we migrated from Bungalow and over to NYC&C pizza. It was the perfect combination of cheap beer and slices as big as one’s face.  Our cluster of kiddos sat in the red leather chairs, lifting up the greasy bread and taking big bites.

The combination of beach club/pizza/flower crowns was a perfect event for the loveliness that is Rachel.  I tried to personify her sweet/childlike/imaginative temperament into a cupcake…using cinnamon and honey and crushed cookies and multi-colored sprinkles. I love a good balance of sophistication and sugar, and these seemed to do the trick. I also remembered how much I absolutely LOVE sour cream in frostings. This will be done again soon!

Cinnamon Cupcakes with a Honey Buttercream and Crushed Cinnamon Cookies

For the cake!

  • ¾ cup room temp butter
  • 1 ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ cup 2% organic milk

For the frosting!

  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream

For the pretty topping!

  • Cinnamon cookies (amount up to your discretion)
  • Multi-colored sprinkles (color up to your discretion)

1. Preheat your oven to 375. Cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture while alternatively adding milk. Beat after each addition.

2. Using a small measuring cup, fill paper-lined muffin cups about two-thirds full.

3. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the tops are springy and golden brown. Cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

4. To make the frosting, cream the butter until it’s fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, occasionally stopping to push the sides down.  Add the honey and sour cream and cream until the desired consistency.  Frost the cupcakes.

5.  Place the cookies into a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to gently roll them into crumbs.  Sprinkle the crumbs and sprinkles on top of the freshly frosted cupcakes. Makes about 24.

Eat ‘em up, or give to a good friend. She’ll probably share.