My office in NY had the best birthday policy. The rule was you were responsible for bringing in a birthday treat for the person whose birthday followed yours. Which for some people meant that you'd make an elaborate cake, and for others a quick trip to the minimart for some hostess cakes. We didn't mess around with silly cards with personal notes from each and every one of your coworkers, or resort to the once a month communal-birthday sheet cake. It was a very personal and very delicious way to celebrate a birthday and something that everyone could enjoy.
My current office used to get atleast 2 large cakes or tarts or whatever else your heart desired from one of the amazingly delicious bakeries around town - usually Macrina or Dahlia. But as good as one Dahlia cupcake is, when you're given a large equally portioned slice of cake every few weeks, it gets kinda old, and ummm, disgustingly buttery. And so just before my own birthday, when we learned that layoffs and other cuts would be made, we also gave up the overindulgent birthday tradition. And replaced it with something infinitely better, homemade cakes.
For my birthday our office manager Heather made me a lovely carrot cake with not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting punctuated with pecan halves. And so when I was asked to perhaps make a bunch of cupcakes for the next birthday I was happy to oblige. Well, ok I wasn't exactly happy. Something about taking a major paycut leaves you with an overwhelming resentment toward everything having to do with work. But I figured I should draw the line at coworkers birthdays and make some nice cupcakes for everyone to enjoy.
I searched through various books and websites and decided on the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and the More from Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream and some classic decorations. Mostly because both recipes were remarkable straightforward. And while I appreciate complexity in more adult desserts, I prefer a cupcake to be simple.
These were very easy to pull together. The batter yielded about 34 cupcakes, rather than the 24 it were supposed to. But more cupcakes is never really a problem. I found some hungry mouths to feed at Jon's office as well.
Dolloping Frosting ontop, Smoothing out the Sides, and Top, and Sprinkling.
They were really quite yummy. In fact I couldn't stop eating the frosting, and I'm usually one of those people who scrapes frosting off of cake slices.