Monday, 17 October 2011

Cupcakes A to Z: Almond Cupcakes with Cherry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Can I tell you a secret?

I REALLY didn't want to make these today.  The truth is - I had bigger kitchen plans for today (I was gonna knock out a couple of different recipes and tell you all about them) - but after being stuck on site for two extra days, going to Cold Lake so my brother could work on my car (which went pretty well and I got loads of baby time!), and spending a couple of hours doing yard work this morning, I couldn't hardly stand the idea of hanging out in the kitchen this afternoon. 

Sorry about that run-on sentence.

What I REALLY wanted to do was be a couch potato and relax.

But I had already taken out the frozen cupcake batter (I wanted to test the idea that I could freeze cupcake batter and they would come out just like I'd made them fresh) and I didn't want it to go waste.

So I lowered my expectations of myself. 

And I have one more day before I have to go back to work.  And since I've spent less than 24 hours in my home, I don't have to clean!  :o)

Anyway.  Now that you think I'm disgusting, let's move on to the cupcakes.

Here's the frozen cupcake batter.  Well, at this point it wasn't frozen anymore.  And yes, that is my finger print in there - but it was a CLEAN finger!

So, what you do is bring the frozen batter to room temperature and bake it according to the recipe directions.

And how did they come out?

I thought they didn't get as much of a rise as when they were freshly made, but they weren't HORRIBLE.  But I would still rather make them from start to finish.

Now for the buttercream.  Ever since I heard about Swiss Meringue Buttercream, I've been interested in trying it as it's somewhat more intense than just a plain buttercream, but apparently it's supposed to be pretty fantastic.  Lots of bakers swear by it.

Here's what you do according to this recipe.

You start by whisking together egg whites and sugar in your KitchenAid mixer bowl.  Or whatever type of mixer bowl you happen to be using.

Then you drop your mixer bowl into a pot that's on the stove and has simmering water in it.  Just a make-shift double boiler.  Then you heat the egg whites and sugar until 145 degrees F.

Once the egg whites and sugar have come to 145 degrees F, you whip it with your wire whip until it's a stiff meringue.  Or stiff peaks if you will.  At this point it tastes like marshmallows.  And you can use it this way - it's pretty good, but I'm not a huge fan of it.  Anyway, switch to your paddle attachment and add butter in pieces gradually until it's all mixed together and creamy and delicious. 

And this is where I stopped taking pictures cause I'm a big dummy.

I took some cherry jam and gave it a whir in my mini food processor.  Then I ran it through a sieve and added a little at a time to the egg whites, sugar, and butter until I had the flavour I wanted.

Then I piped it on in a big blob with a Wilton 1A tip.

So it's not that gorgeous.  But you still kind of wish it was on YOUR table.
And what did I think of this buttercream?  The cynic in me wants to say that it's overly fussy and that I have had butter/icing sugar buttercreams that are equally excellent.  And while part of this is accurate, I would be lying if I said it was overly fussy.  I mean - it is a little more work than just a plan buttercream, but the end result is smooth and creamy and not overly sweet.

And almond and cherry pair SO well.

Would I make this buttercream recipe again?  Maybe with a different flavouring, but it didn't particularly rock my world - although it was still really good.

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.

Cherry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This is the original recipe, which I halved
4 oz egg whites (roughly 4 large eggs)
8 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
22 tbsp butter, room temperature, chopped into 1/2" chunks
1 jar of good (no corn syrup) cherry jam
  1. Puree and strain cherry jam through a sieve.
  2. Heat up water in a large saucepan, about an inch deep, until simmering.
  3. Lightly whisk together egg whites and sugar in mixer bowl.
  4. Place mixer bowl in saucepan and whisk egg white and sugar until temperature reaches 145 degrees F on a thermometer.
  5. Remove from heat and put mixer bowl under stand mixer with wire whip attachment in place.  Whip egg whites at high speed until cool and it is a stiff meringue.
  6. Switch to the paddle attachment on the mixer and gradually add butter in pieces while whipping continuously.  Add in the vanilla.
  7. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy.  The buttercream may go through a phase inversion as (or after) the butter is added.  It will look curdled, just keep mixing and it will come back together.
  8. Add strained cherry jam a little bit at a time until it tastes the way you want.
  9. Keep at room temperature.
Source: Look I Made That

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