This is James. He is fifteen years old and one of Zach's, my 15 year old son's, best friends.
These are James' giant cupcakes.
Recently, my son's friends have been eating dinner with us on a Saturday night.
Typically, it starts like this; around 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon, the phone rings.
Me: Hello? Zach?
Zach: Hi mom.
Me: Where are you?
Zach: In my room.
Me: In my house?
Zach: Yeah. In my room.
Me: Have you fallen and can't get up?
Zach: No, it's me Zach - I'm in my room with Sal.
Sal is another one of my son's friends he "hangs" with. There is Tom and Sal, and Mark, and Ryan, and James. They are very nice boys from the neighborhood and all 15 years old.
Me: You are in your room with Sal? Has Sal fallen and can't get up? Did a dresser fall on you? Are you engaging in CPR on Sal that prohibits you from coming out of your room, walking the 10 feet to the kitchen and conversing in person with me?
Zach: no, we're playing video games, can Sal eat over?
That's how it typically starts. Five or ten minutes later, another phone call:
Me: Hello Zach?
Zach: Yeah, mom... can Tom eat over too?
Me: Did Tom fall down and can't get up?
Zach: Oh mom...
This will go on for sometime. This past Saturday, Zach did eventually emerge from his room to ask if James could also eat over. James was coming from a fresh haircut appointment and wanted all his friends to see his new "do" (my words, not theirs)
When James came in the door - I was shocked.
James, for as long as I have known him, has had very long hair that he wore tied back in a pony tail; which in itself is funny. Let me explain. I grew up in the 70's - where long haired "hippies" were the norm. These kids have absolutely no clue that they are imitating a style from the 70's. It would be like me wearing saddle shoes and poodle skirts. But they don't get it. They believe they are the fashionistas and and on the cutting edge. hee-hee. If they would only take a glance at my high-school yearbook how mortified would they be???
Anyway, James came in - another dinner invitation was extended and like so many Saturday night dinners I found myself cooking for 4 to 5 teenagers, my husband and myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I have always tried to have an "open door" policy when it comes to our home. Better to have the kidadults congregate here than elsewhere and besides, it is amazing what you can learn over a table of shared food.
What I learned that night:
James had been growing his hair for a couple of years in order to donate it to Locks for Love; an organization that makes wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. There is no charge for these wigs. It was finally long enough and in one fell swoop he had it all cut off to benefit children with cancer.
Sometimes kids can amaze us.
So that's why I made James a Giant Cupcake. Because James, in my eyes, has a giant heart.
Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze and Cream Cheese Swirl.
Makes 6 jumbo (muffin size) or 12 normal size cupcakes.
Paper cupcake liners (jumbo or regular sized)
1/2 cup whole grain pasty flour (I like Hodson Mills whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup reduced fat yogurt (I like Face 0% fat Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup skim or 1% milk
1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg white
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon nonfat milk (plus more if needed)
2 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cream cheese (I like neufchatel; light cream cheese)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
Place rack in in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Line cupcake pan with liners. Whisk together flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
Combine milk and lemon juice or vinegar in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, add yogurt and stir to combine. Add vanilla. Set aside.
Combine butter, oil and brown sugar in the bowl of mixer and mix on high speed until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Add egg and egg white and beat another minute.
Add 1/3 of cocoa/flour mixture, then 1/3 of milk/yogurt mixture, mixing well after each addition. Repeat until all ingredients are combined.
Distribute among cupcake liners.
Bake for 22 minutes for jumbo muffin size or 15 minutes for regular cupcake size or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on rack.
Combine confectioner's sugar and milk in small saucepan and heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add chocolate and and stir until melted and smooth. Add milk by 1/2 teaspoons if too thick. While still warm, frost cupcakes.
2 tablespoons cream cheese. Microwave for 10-15 seconds.
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar. Stir into cream cheese.
Place in small plastic bag, snip off corner and squiggle on cupcakes.
Don't tell the 15 year old's these are low fat, low calorie, high fiber. They are loaded with love and that's the only thing anyone needs to know; just like Locks for Love and fifteen year olds.