Thursday, August 30, 2012

Raspberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Italian Meringue Buttercream

  Quite a title huh? I was in the market for a really tasty cupcake to celebrate the birthdays of some very special ladies. I wanted something I hadn't tried before and something not chocolate (one of the ladies isn't a chocolate eater, crazy I know). I came across a recipe from a wonderful blogger, whose blog is loaded with elegant pictures of delicious-looking food, for Raspberry Cupcakes. I did not have the xylitol called for in the recipe so I swapped it cup-for-cup for regular granulated sugar.
  I was in the mood for something more than the vanilla buttercream she frosted her cupcakes with so I began scouring the internet again and came across a recipe for Italian Meringue Buttercream. I've made this type of buttercream before (remember the Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Buttercream) and loved it. Further into her frosting post she mentions variations on the buttercream, one of which is subbing brown sugar for the granulated sugar. This was it! This cupcake came out better than I could have hoped for. The cake was incredibly light and the frosting complimented it perfectly.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Chocolate Coma

  I have been playing around with different cupcake combinations lately. Today's venture was a Chocolate Cupcake stuffed with semi-sweet chocolate chips and topped with a Whipped Chocolate Buttercream.
  The cake recipe was courtesy of the Sweet Tooth Fairy herself, Megan Faulkner Brown. She created a Black and White Chocolate Cupcake for Food Network's "Cupcake Wars". My feelings on the cake-It was incredibly delicious, but the texture is that of a Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffin, not a fluffy cupcake.
  The frosting is a slight variation on a recipe also from Cupcake Wars for Whipped Chocolate Buttercream. The cake from this recipe got rave reviews but calls for coffee, which I don't drink. Until I can come up with a way to substitute coffee for another liquid without compromising flavor, I will have to stay away from this cake recipe (darn!)
  The resulting cupcake is incredibly tasty (albeit somewhat dense in the cake department), and is a definite "full-glass-of-milk-in-hand" kind of cupcake. If you're looking for something to satisfy a SERIOUS chocolate craving, this is the cupcake for you!

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream
(Slightly varied from this recipe by Michelle Spell)

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature  
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

   In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter on high, using the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa over the bowl and beat on low until combined. Add the vanilla and mix well. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and beat on high until fluffy (1-2 minutes). With mixer on low speed, drizzle in the cream. Once everything is combined, turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Replace the paddle with the whisk attachment (make sure to get all the frosting off that paddle and into the bowl!) Turn the mixer up to high speed and whip for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with desired attachment and get to work frosting all those delicious cupcakes.

  A handy trick for filling a pastry bag-Set the bag in a tall glass (tip down). Fold the top of the bag over the top of the glass. Voila! No more struggling to fill the bag while holding it.