Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simple Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes 
(adapted from the Planet Cake recipe)

175g unsalted butter, softened
160g caster sugar
1/2 pod of real vanilla seeds
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 eggs
160g self-raising flour
100g plain flour
200ml milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases.

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and a pinch of salt with electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

sift the flours together. Using a wooden spoon, fold the flour and milk alternately into the creamed mixture.

Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when poked into the middle of the cake.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Storage: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Cute Sweet Things Swiss Meringue Buttercream 
( This recipe is a combination of my two favourite recipes.)
This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns.
This recipe makes enough SMB for 12  cupcakes but as you can see from my pictures that I have not used a lot of SMB. For a full high topping you can double the recipe.

2 large egg whites
125g Caster Sugar
125g Unsalted butter/ softened
few drops of essence of your choice (I like to use vanilla)

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes

To tint buttercream reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color using a toothpick. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved.
Chocolate variation: Using a flexible spatula, fold 65g semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled, into buttercream mixture at the same time as you add the vanilla extract

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