Butter. I’ve been buried under pounds of butter in the last week. With the Bridal show a week away, I’ve been testing other frostings for my cupcakes. As some of you might know, I only use cream cheese frosting and chocolate glaze for my cupcakes right now. I still can’t bring myself to use American Buttercream (butter + confectioner’s sugar + milk) because of its extreme sweetness. European buttercreams like Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMB) and Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) are not any better if they are not flavored properly as they do have a tendency to taste like a stick of butter when used on cupcakes. The IMB holds up the best and is almost impervious to warm temperatures when made properly. It also has a beautiful off-white color that lends itself to gorgeous piped decorations. I find that fruit flavorings and liquor cut down on the “blob of butter” taste. Another variation of buttercream I have tried is by adding crème anglaise to the IMB …the result is extremely delicious – almost like ice cream – the tradeoff is that it does not hold up as well as IMB.
Italian Meringue buttercream with strawberry conserve
Here is a recipe for Basic Italian Meringue Buttercream
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
5 egg whites
1 lb of butter softened, cut to tablespoon size
cream of tartar
Bring 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water to boil. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 220F start beating the egg whites on high speed and add to it the remaining ¼ cup sugar until it reaches stiff peaks. The sugar syrup must reach 245F before you can add it to the meringue. You can lower the heat of your sugar syrup if your meringue is not ready. Pour the sugar syrup on your meringue while the mixer is running at high speed. Be careful not to splash the syrup – do not pour it on the whisk (I pour it down the sides of the bowl). Continue mixing for 2 minutes and lower the speed and continue to beat until the mixture cools to room temperature. Increase the speed to medium and start adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Your buttercream may appear curdled but it will eventually come together.
Chocolate cupcakes made from the Georgetown Cupcake recipe
I also tried out Washington D.C.’s #1 cupcake, chocolate cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake. The recipe is here. I was a bit disappointed. I used Valrhona Cocoa powder as instructed but I barely tasted any chocolate in the cake itself. I wonder if the baking soda in the recipe should have been baking powder. Valrhona is dutched-processed which means it is alkalized and I don’t think the baking soda has any acid to react with. Also the instruction to make the ganache sounded very simple but I already knew it would have a tendency to make a grainy ganache, which was what happened. It is better to incorporate the cream slowly to partially melted chocolate to attain a smooth ganache as opposed to putting the cream and the chocolate together and melting them at the same time.
IMB stands up pretty well in piped frostings
I am also excited to announce that I will be selling those gorgeous laser-cut cupcake wrappers on the Petites Bouchees online store soon!
Now, how do I eat all these cupcakes?
The buttercream takes on a yellow hue when creme anglaise is added