When the FaceBook friend I asked to make Carter’s birthday cake emailed 5 days before the party to let me know that Swine Flu had made its way to her house, my first reaction was concern, as she is pregnant and has 2 little guys at home that could be sick. Not shortly thereafter though, I went into panic. I already had a long list of items to accomplish before the party, and had not planned on baking a cake being one of them. When I got myself back together, I decided cupcakes were the perfect fix. I dyed them pumpkin orange and topped with green frosting to go with the theme of the party. They turned out great, and I’m looking forward to finding out other ways I can “theme” these go-to cupcakes.
Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes
This was Martha Stewart’s recipe, and we really liked it. It wasn’t too sweet and had a great texture.
- 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups sugar
- 5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(makes about 9 cups, enough for about 28 cupcakes)
Another Martha Stewart recipe
Note: This is a little time intensive, I think it took almost an hour start to finish, but the result it worth it. Also, I added additional sugar, as I thought the result was a little too buttery for my tastes. This addition is reflected in the recipe below. Also, I think this recipe makes enough for way more than 28 cupcakes. I frosted all 48 of the cupcakes for this project, and still have about 1/3 of the batch leftover.
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 10 large egg whites
- 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Gel icing colors
- Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
- Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until 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 beat just until combined.
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and add in powdered sugar to taste. Continue to beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets for 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.
- To color, mix in gel icing tints until you achieve the desired shade, keeping in mind color will darken slightly as it sets.