Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Christmas Cupcake Fiasco
curved surface, so they would have a bit of realism to them.
The Whimsical Bake House cookbook's Chocolate Butter cake recipe. Next, I used my good old standby, CIA's Baking At Home classic white cake recipe to make vanilla cupcakes, which turned out to be a COMPLETE DISASTER.
Pillsbury Yellow Cake mix box, that is. It was a cop-out but also a sanity check. Since I still had to frost and decorate these puppies, I decided that Pillsbury was better than biscuits.
The best part of all was watching my kid eat a cupcake. Her smile can melt butter. She choose the vanilla cupcake with a buttercream wreath and then proceeded to only eat the frosting. Smart girl.
For those thinking they might give a real buttercream a go, here is the (relatively easy) CIA's Swiss buttercream recipe (with my notes):
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
227 g sugar (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp- golly, isn't weight easier?!)
114 g egg whites (one large egg white is about 30 g, so a little less than 4 egg whites)
284 g butter, (about 2 sticks plus 4 1/2 Tbsp) at room temperature, no colder than 70 degrees F. (if it is colder than this you will have to heat your mixture)
1 tsp vanilla (5ml)
(You will also need a thermometer to attach to the side of your bowl)
1. In a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water, put the sugar and egg whites and whisk to combine. Heat, whisking constantly, until mixture measures at least 140 degrees F and not hotter than 165 degrees F. If you are worried about salmonella, you should make sure you hit 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
2. Transfer the bowl to your mixer and whip the mixture with a wire-whisk attachment for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is shiny. Touch the bowl to see if it is room temperature. (There is no risk of over-whipping here, so do not worry about that, just keep whipping)
3. If your bowl feels like room temperature, you are now ready to add the butter. Change your attachment to the paddle attachment and gradually add the butter, a small piece at a time while whipping at medium speed. The buttercream should look light and creamy. If it does not, your butter was too cold and you'll need to put your bowl over the pan of simmering water again and 'melt' it a bit to heat it up. Do not melt more than 5-10% of your mixture. The edges of your mixture should look a bit like ice-cream as it melts, and you should put it back on the mixer and see if it whips up nice before melting more of it if needed.
4. Add the vanilla. If you want a chocolate frosting, you can separately melt 128 g of bittersweet chocolate (good quality!) and then cool it to room temp, and then blend it in at this point in the process. You can also add mint flavoring (about 1/4 tsp) if you want a chocolate mint. (yum!)
5. You can use the buttercream now, or cover the buttercream with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge at this point for up to 1 week. To 'reconstitute' it, leave it out at room temperature for several hours, or, do the melt it over a pan of simmering water routine and then whip it with a paddle attachment until it looks smooth and creamy. You can also freeze it for up to a couple of months.
6. Load it into a piping bag with a star tip, or a plain round tip and pipe it onto your cake or cupcakes. Enjoy!