How much of one’s person is innate? I am fairly confident I was born garrulous and quarrelsome. And, my dear cousin, M—, was born sweet and kind.
I was four when he was born, but I don’t really remember his birth. Frankly, I can’t remember a time without him. He was sweet from the very beginning. Now that Belle is a toddler, I often think about how sweetly he would stand by the fridge asking for ice. He didn’t really demand it; he didn’t really cry; he just requested it.
So, for his birthday, I decided to make fancy, fancy cupcakes, even if he isn't in town. I took the lead from Farida and made zebra cupcakes, but instead of chocolate, I made red currant/rose water layered with pistachio. My inspirations were two-fold. As a child, M always loved strawberry quick. (Yes, if you ever saw it in the grocery store and thought, you the heck drinks that fake pink drink, it was him.) And, then there was the isphahan macaron with its rose petals and raspberries. The latter is so fancy, and since M is now a big-shot success he needed a fancy birthday dessert.
The zebra effect was very subtle because I didn't want to use food coloring. They were then topped whipped cream frosting, almonds and currants. (I could have used pistachio but realized at the last minute I was out.) Basically, follow Farida's recipe, but substitute two tablespoons of warmed currant jelly and 1 T sifted powdered sugar for the chocolate powder and in the plain add pistachio extract.
Happy Birthday, M.