Red Velvet Cupcakes, a Ticket to Denver, and a Broncos Game (or, Happy Birthday to Nathan!)

Today is my hubby’s birthday! I congratulate myself every year on this day for marrying a younger man. Only by 11 months, but still, I’ll take it! 🙂

This year, as you know, due to the move to Oklahoma, we are really, really busy and really stressed, so I wanted to do something extra nice for him. Consequently, I’ve nominated myself for Wife of The Year due to my brilliant birthday surprise, pulled off successfully as of yesterday morning!

Before going into the details of the surprise (as if the title of this post didn’t give it away already), let’s back up. Nathan’s favorite cake is red velvet cake, so one of our traditions is that I make one, from scratch, each year on his birthday. Before I met Nathan, I had never made red velvet cake, and didn’t know that:

  1. It’s really just chocolate cake with red food coloring (LOTS of red food coloring)
  2. That it is kinda hard to make. He kinda tricked me, and now I have to make it every year or else he’ll think I’ve become a boring wife. 🙂
  3. It requires a sifter, and surprising ingredients like cake flour (which is lighter than regular flour), buttermilk, and white vinegar.

This year, since we are so busy/stressed, I decided to make cupcakes instead of a layer cake, which I usually do. I found a great red velvet cupcake recipe on Simply Recipes. One of the cool shortcuts in this recipe was a tip on how to make your own buttermilk – just let a tablespoon of white vinegar stand in a cup of milk for ten minutes.

So, onto the baking process…get to creaming, sifting, whisking, beating, combining…and about 45 minutes later, your sink looks like this:

My tips on making red velvet cake:

  1. Wear an apron. That red food coloring is nasty stuff!
  2. Use really deep bowls for mixing, and start on very slow speeds (same reason as #1).
  3. Under no circumstances should you EVER use any type of icing that doesn’t involve CREAM CHEESE. Some adaptations are just WRONG.

So, mission accomplished, cupcakes into the oven…and as you’ll see, my baking skills end where decorating begins. I was laughing so hard trying to decorate these! It was quite entertaining for me. Two of them are mini portraits of me and Nathan (the one of him has a goatee and mustache).

I used orange and blue frosting – Broncos colors! – because of my theme birthday gift. As you may remember, in this house we are Broncos watchers. Nathan was born and raised in Colorado, and some of his best friends live there. They couldn’t be at our wedding because they were expecting twins and had some scary complications. But no worries, the twins, Kai and Gavyn, were born very healthy (hurray) during ski season (boo). So, I knew with the double disappoint of 1) their absence at our wedding and 2) this year being the first time in ten years they couldn’t all ski together, a surprise trip to Denver would mean so much to Nathan.

I secretly bought the plane and NFL tickets, and Friday night, over his birthday dinner at TeePee Mexican Restaurant (Nathan’s fav), I gave him a card with the plane ticket. (I think I got a couple tears, he was so happy, but don’t tell him I told you.) Then, Saturday morning while he was packing, I said “oh, there’s one more little thing…” and gave him an envelope with two tickets to today’s Broncos game in Denver. His response? “No way babe! Awesome! … They’ll probably lose though.” But look at the happiness yesterday morning when I dropped him off at the airport:

Happy birthday my looovvveeeee!

– Your H


About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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