I am a December baby…
I have been thinking about the Korean custom of celebrating a child’s 100th day…the thinking behind it being that if your baby made it to through to a hundred days, it was cause for celebration. Not to mention, a big sigh-of-relief for the parents. Like in many developing and still-developing countries, a child’s life was no guarantee with illness, starvation, dingoes (okay, not so much) apt to claim your baby without missing a beat. No wonder that getting to the ripe old age of 100 days would seem like a feat!
Koreans call this celebration Baek-il, “baek” meaning 100 and “il” meaning day.
I recently came upon a post by a woman named Marisha who shared some of the Baek-il photos that her foster family had taken of her right before she came to the States to be with her forever family. She writes of how thankful she is to this family who, in spite of having their own children to fend for on limited funds, made it a point to honor her on her 100th day with this Korean tradition. The foresight of this family is clear, they knew that one day she would want to see these pictures of herself as a baby and know that she had been loved and connected to Korea in some way. Read her full post here.
My family didn’t really celebrate the holidays when I was young. They were foreign to us, mostly, and we didn’t have the money for the spread either––goose, ham, duck, roast beef and all the accoutrements––tree, decorations, presents! Why do people need to prove their worth with such worthless trappings (save for the ham!)? But what an embarrassment of riches on my birthdays! My mom always baked me a cake and made me a party. She was the tops in that department.
Now it’s up to me to carry on this tradition by making myself a party:
By baking cupcakes…
getting Tabatha, whose birthday is just three days after mine, to come over…
along with some friends…
and my Boo (in charge of steak, red beans & rice) to celebrate!
Happy birthday to all you Decembrists out there!
셍일 축하 함니다!
Orange Cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting
(adapted from Sweet Gratitude by Judith Sutton)
3 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
14 tbls unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure orange extract
1 tbls grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Orange cream frosting:
8 oz package cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
4 tbls unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp pure orange extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Put a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 350° F. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
3. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs one a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in orange extract and zest. Switch to low-speed and the flour in three additions, alternating with milk in two additions until just mixed.
4. Spoon the batter into cupcake cups, filling 2/3’s of the way. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack or plate.
5. For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy. Beat in orange zest and extract. Switch to low-speed before adding confectioners’ sugar in two additions. Beat until smooth.
6. Spread frosting over your cupcakes. Garnish with orange segments if you like.