Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garden Cupcakes

Summer has finally (finally!) arrived in Vancouver, and our gardens are starting to look more like these cupcakes. Flowers! Insects! Colours!

These were made several weeks ago, in a flurry of catering jobs, bakers markets, work, mystery abdominal pain, graduation, my birthday, and oh, that whole Stanley Cup finals mess, for a beautiful wedding at Minter Gardens.
These summery cupcakes are chocolate hazelnut, chocolate raspberry, and lemon, all topped with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. If you've never had swiss meringue buttercream, please put a stop to that nonsense, and have some immediately. It will ruin you for other icings. Trust.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
from Martha Stewart


5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

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.


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