She Dreams She’s Dancing

Choco Berry Cupcakes
as part of FrostingfortheCause

“It’s a tumor or it’s a tumor.”  These were not the words I was wanting, or expecting, to hear on the first day of my Freshman Spring Break.  I was suppose to by in TN with my friends visiting Dolly Parton, not in a doctor’s office in Northern Virginia being told that life as I knew it was about to change.  I remember fighting with my mom once we got home. I still wanted to go on Spring Break figuring if this was it, then I wanted to end on a high note, while she wanted me to stay at home.  I remember peeling out of the driveway and driving as fast as (legally) possible to my best friends house, emotions rapidly switching from anger to confusion to elation.  Yes, I said elation because after 5 months of pain I finally knew what was wrong with me.  After consuming my weight in Cookie and Cream milkshakes I returned back home 10yrs older and told my mom that I would stay but that if possible I would go back to classes the next week and drive to Maryland for my appts as needed.  The next three weeks passed in a whirl wind of activity.  People at school were use to seeing me on crutches so nobody asked questions that I didn’t want to answer, which provided a perfect escape.  It felt like I was living two different lives at this point, one a normal college freshman and the other a girl with an uncertain future.   The day of my surgery I remember thinking “this is it,” I couldn’t change the outcome of what they would find and I knew that I couldn’t stop them from amputating my leg if it came down to that.  I knew the odds were in my favor of waking up and everything going back to normal but I was also aware of the other possible options.  I was lucky, the best case scenario was my scenario.  The tumor, and some surrounding tissue/muscle, was removed and all the tests showed that I was good that it had been caught at the perfect time.  It has been 8yrs and 9 days from my surgery and while I’m not to where I was before the surgery I know that I’m in a much better place than I was 8yrs and 8days ago.  I learned a lot about myself, regarding what is (my family) and is not (Spring Break) important.  I learned that I can still dance and also found the motivation needed to perfect my left kicks.  Mostly I learned how fast life really can change, and how it amazing it really is. 
In the years since my encounter with parosteal osteosarcoma I have learned to accept that there are certain things that I can’t do, and that’s ok.  I’m finally able to ride a bike again but squatting is out of the question and have finally accepted that it’s ok to wear flats on occasion.  I have to be careful when I go hiking or running and I pay attention to when the pain in my leg escalates.  I am also ineligible to donate blood or bone marrow, but I have found other ways to help.  I ran a bone marrow drive in 2007 and I’m hoping to do another one sometime later this year.    
It was also during the years following my adventure that I discovered my love of cooking.  Being on crutches for a significant part of my college career kept me indoors more often than not and I needed something to do besides studying.  I started experimenting with cookies and cakes, using the frat boys next door as willing guinea pigs.  These cupcakes use the vanilla cupcake recipe that I started working on back then but the filling is one that I never would have attempted back then.  They might take awhile to assemble but they are worth it! 

Ingredients for Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Line a regular sized muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  
3. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extra.  Set aside in the fridge.  (Learned this trick from Martha Stewart)
4.  Cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy, about 3minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and cream well.  Sift in half of the dry ingredients and stir in.  Pour in the milk/vanilla mixture and then slowly mix in the remaining dry ingredients until just wet. 

5. Spoon the dough into the cupcake pan, filling about 2/3rds full.  Bake in oven for 18minutes, or until a tooth pick pulls clean.  Allow to cool in pan for 5minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before proceeding to fill and ice.

Ingredients for Filling:
24 Raspberries (half of these will be for topping the cupcake)
1 cup melted chocolate

Directions for Filling:
1.  Use a knife to gently carve a hole into the top of the cupcake.  Trim the extra cake off the “lid” so that it’s about 1/8in thick.  Be careful when carving the hole to not go through the bottom of the cupcake!
2.  One at a time gently fill the raspberries with the melted chocolate, and place chocolate down in the cupcake hole.  Cover the raspberry with more of the chocolate, until the whole is filled then cover with the lid. 
Ingredients for Icing:
8 oz cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1.  Place all the ingredients in a large food processor and gently pulse until creamy. 
2.  Use a knife or a piping bag to ice the cupcake as desired.  Top with a raspberry and ENJOY!

For anyone interested in joining the cause please go to http://www.frostingforthecause.com/ and sign up!

One thought on “She Dreams She’s Dancing

  1. I think that because tomorrow is my bday you should make these for me and then figure out how to take the calories out of them.


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