Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cupcakes A to Z: Appletini Cupcakes

I think that when I saw the Appletini Cupcakes by Naomi at Bakers Royale on Tastespotting was when I really wanted to start doing cupcakes.  They were so pretty, I was absolutely smitten.  I wanted to be able to make something that people would look at and say "Wow!  Those are beautiful!"

If you've noticed anything about my previous cupcakes, you would have noticed that I'm generally happy with the cupcake and a swirl of icing.  I don't ever feel like I need to decorate them that much more.  But Naomi made these for her 1st Blog-a-versary, so I wanted to do them (and her) justice by going that little extra mile.

And.  I was taking them with me to my parent's house for Christmas.  They definitely NEEDED to be pretty!

A quick overview for you.  These Appletini Cupcakes are a vanilla cupcake topped with an appletini glaze and FURTHER topped with an appletini-infused Swiss meringue buttercream, dredged in white sanding sugar and topped with a cherry.  I really wanted cherries with the stem on, but I couldn't find any!  Talk abut sad.  (Is it weird that THAT'S what makes me sad?)

Also - do you know that it's IMPOSSIBLE to find Apple Schnapps around here?  Seriously - I went to two different liquor stores and called a third and none of them had Apple Schnapps.  So I decided just to sub in Apple Sour Puss.  When I got home I "googled" and some of the responses I found were that I could sub in the Sour Puss and no-one would know any different.

I baked up a batch of vanilla cupcakes.  I had actually planned on making all of them, but - as luck would have it - I was 11 liners short.  Of course.

The "stuff"

Mix the dry ingredients

Mix the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla

Combine the milk and sour cream

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture and mix until just combined

And bake till done
Then you make a glaze out of the Appletini.  Now, on Naomi's website, it says "Make the 3 servings".  I had to only assume that meant "Make three martinis, combine two and put one aside".  And then I had to guess what "1 part" meant.  In the cocktail world, and general "part" is 1 oz.  That's two tablespoons. 

The Appletini Stuff

Just to test it out, I made the first martini like that.  But it made a HECK of a lot.  I added four tablespoons of icing sugar to make a glaze, but I had to add quite a bit more to make it an actual "glaze".  As it was before I added more icing sugar, it was more of a syrup.  So I just added icing sugar until I got to the consistency of a glaze.

I have no idea if that's right at all.  I'm kinda winging it here.

Then you stab a bunch of holes in each cupcakes and brush the Appletini glaze over top.  It should seep down into the cupcake and infuse it with the Appletini flavour.

With holes and glaze

Then you make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Heat water and sugar in double boiler until smooth between your fingers
Whip to a meringue and add in the butter a bit at a time

And at the end, you toss in two "servings" of Appletini.  But after I had made one serving for the glaze and realised just how much it was, I was hesitant to throw so much into the buttercream. 

So I made ONE serving and added the whole thing to the buttercream.  Believe me, I had the time to start this one over if it was messed up.

I have to remind myself that flavour will generally change and "brighten" overnight.  So I didn't want to make the buttercream too terribly strong.

In the end, I added two servings to the buttercream, but I thought that it made it a little soft for piping - I probably should have chilled it for about five minutes or so to set it a little.

To decorate - I used a large round tip to pipe and then rolled the edges in sanding sugar.

I obviously need to practice with my round tip!

And top with a cherry.  I was so disappointed that I couldn't find maraschinos with the stem attached.  And I probably should have let the cherries drain first, because this one started to drip. 

The result? 

I couldn't taste the Appletini at all.  Basically it was just a vanilla cupcake.  But it was really, really pretty!  And the cupcake itself was lovely and moist.  And the Swiss Meringue was really good - easy and not fussy!

I'm sort of disappointed that the flavour of the Appletini didn't come through at all.  I wonder why the boozy cupcakes never taste boozy?  I suppose you could try it for yourself and see if you get different results.

Still not drunk off cupcakes, this is the Cane Girl - signing off.

Appletini Cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the salt and beat until combined.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  6. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  7. Stop mixer and combine sour cream and milk until smooth. 
  8. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in thirds starting with the sour cream and ending with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  9. Fill liners 2/3rds full and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Classic Appletini
Make X 3
1 part Vodka
1 part Apple Schnapps
Splash of Dry Vermouth
  1. Shake all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add powdered sugar to one serving to make a glaze
  3. Set the other two servings aside.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
4 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.  Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers, it should feel completely smooth.
  3. Transfer bowl to mixer stand.  Using the whisk attachment, beat on high spped until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the butter one piece at a time and beat until incorporated after each addition.  Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added - it will become smooth again with continued beating.  Add vanilla and beat until just combined.
  5. Add the two servings of appletini and stir to combine.
To Assemble:
  1. Poke holes in the cupcakes with a skewer.  Brush glaze on top of cupcakes.
  2. Top with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Source:  Bakers Royale

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