Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The Swiss Meringue Buttercream?  It is rich.  Very rich.  The first day I thought, "This is too much butter, even for me."  But I tried the frosting the next day and liked it so much better.  So if you want some really pretty really rich frosting, this recipe is for you.

Let's see.  Why did I make this recipe?  We had some fresh mint, and I wanted to use it in cupcakes.  I tried to make the frosting by steeping the mint when with the eggs.  Guess what?  It didn't work.  I tried whipping the egg whites for 30 minutes and they would not get stiff, so I had to start over.  And by that time, I didn't want mint anymore, so I ended up using almond extract.

The cupcakes are a favorite standby, the base from black bottom cupcakes.

The frosting is a version from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.  I only made a quarter batch, it frosted about 12 cupcakes. 


3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the sugar and egg whites in a bowl that can handle heat (I used the bowl of the Kitchenaid Mixer.) Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.  (I used a candy thermometer and heated the eggs and sugar to 150 degrees F.  This is where I tried using fresh mint and it did not work!)

Remove the mixture from the heat, add the salt and beat the egg whites until they form stiff and glossy peaks, about 10-15 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes.  With the mixer on medium add the butter, one piece at a time.  Let the butter get 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 almond and beat just until combined.
I didn't do this part, but the recipe suggests:  Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.