Martha, Martha, Martha...

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I am one of those people who can recall at least one dream per night.  Normally, they are very stressful: being chased and not being able to run, flying in planes that are dangerously close to the ground (usually in Russia), being pushed off the side of a mountain, getting married without's no wonder I wake up so refreshed.  Not.

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Every so often, though, I have one of my recurring dreams that are actually pleasant.  I kid you not, I dream that I am friends with Martha Stewart.  We chat, we get ready for dinner parties, we take boat rides...and in my most recent Martha dream, we went to Macy's for an Ina book signing.
Apparently in my subconscious, Martha & me = BFF. ♥

I'm pretty sure my next dream about Martha will involve this publication: The Best of Martha Stewart Living  Cakes & Cupcakes.
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Maybe you've seen it on your newsstand.  It's a special edition available through May 13th.

It is just absolutely gorgeous.  Every idea, every recipe, every photo...even the paper it's printed on.  Beautiful.

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{photo credit: Martha's Cakes & Cupcakes, used with permission}
Martha's 3-tiered cupcakes are featured there...and they've always been a favorite of mine.  I decided to make a cookie version.

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I used my go-to cookie recipe...and Martha's Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  I have to say, the buttercream on those cookies is glorious.  I keep intending to eat "one tier only" and end up eating the entire stack.  (It's for work, right?)

Bottom line?  Make these.  The cookies or Martha's original cupcakes.  They are just too cute.  Also, run out and pick up a copy of Martha's Cakes and Cupcakes.  Maybe *you'll* dream about Martha, too. ;)

Triple-Tier Flower Cakes 
(from The Best of Martha Stewart Living  Cakes & Cupcakes, used with permission) 
Makes 12 tiered cupcakes (12 of each cupcake size); or makes 15 large, 33 standard, or 108 mini

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a mixer bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, yolk, water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla; beat together.

Divide batter among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes for large, 25 minutes for standard, and 22 minutes for mini. Transfer tins to rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool completely.

To assemble: Divide buttercream in thirds (3 cups for bottom tiers, 2 for middle, and 1 for top); color each in a different pink. Using a dab of buttercream between layers as "glue," stack the cupcakes. Using a U-shaped petal tip (such as Ateco No. 80), pipe petals around outside of each layer, and continue inward.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 6 cups

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pink gel-paste food coloring
  1. Combine sugar and egg whites in mixer bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer; whisk on medium-high speed until whites are fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Continue to whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter by the tablespoon, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using; beat on lowest speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
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For the cookies, I used:
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla & 1/4 tsp. almond extract and used half salted/half unsalted butter in the frosting,
  • this cookie recipe,
  • scalloped circle cookie cutters: 1 & 1/4", 2 & 1/2", 3 & 1/2"
  • AmeriColor Soft Pink
  • #59s icing tip (Martha calls for a #80 and I didn't have one)
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