Saturday, January 23, 2010
In the first month of 2010, four of my friends have already turned 18. I made these cupcakes the other day for them, as super belated birthday presents as it was impossible for me to bake during exams.
Coming to think of it, 2010 is going to be a very special - a roller-coaster year for me. I'll be sitting my IB final exams. I'll be graduating from high school, after seven years there. I'm determined to have a crazy, fruitful, fun and full-of-baking summer to make up for last year. I'll be saying farewell to my friends I've known for many, many years, some whom I have been pals with since we were 4 years old, and we will be parting our own ways to enter the next stage of our lives at university. I myself am likely to be going overseas for university, and enter a journey myself into a foreign country which I am very excited for. (Wait - What if there are no kitchens in the residencies, let along an oven? Oh no!)
And finally, of course I'll be turning 18, an adult, too - I wonder if anyone will be there to bake me a cake...
...Back to these cupcakes. Who could resist a light yet chocolatey cupcake rounded off with a swirl of shiny, intensely chocolatey frosting. This is my first time making Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and it was a success! As per usual, I was a little scared to try the recipe before, as it requires whipping for at least 15 minutes and I was afraid that my ageing hand-held mixer might give up on the job. In the end, I had nothing to be afraid of - after 10 minutes of whipping the egg whites with the butter, watching it turn into a slosh, and then voila - clotting into a silky smooth buttercream.
As for the flavour of the buttercream, I was impressed! Unlike classic buttercreams, it was not cloyingly sweet or rich as the bittersweet chocolate alleviated some of the sweetness. It also had lovely light marshmallowy touch to it, and the texture was just a perfect match to the cupcake itself. Not to mention that it pipes like a dream too - even an incompetent cupcake decorator like myself thought that it was very easy to work it. A few friends and I do think that it's still a tad too buttery, so maybe next time I'll cut the butter down.
I used my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, and once again it did not disappoint. They are really easy to whip up, and even though it only uses cocoa powder, if you use the best-quality cocoa you can get your hands on (I use Valrhona), the end result is still amazingly chocolatey and its light texture means that it's a great compliment to many frostings and fillings.
And on a final note, I've decided to add printable versions (PDF format) of recipes from posts from now on! I will also convert the ingredient measurements into metric measurements (or vice versa if necessary). I personally always work by metric weight, and since I convert the units for every recipe anyway, I might as well post it up too. The online converter I use can be found here - I find it a very handy tool, as it converts measurements specifically for each food. I hope the new feature will be useful to you, and please do notify me if you spot any mistakes - I'll be happy to correct them!
From Cupcake Bakeshop
Makes 12-15 regular cupcakes, or around 40 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (200g) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup (103g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (120ml) milk
1 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
4. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
6. Sift in about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between sifted dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
7. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Do not fill with more than that or cupcakes will overflow. Turn oven down to 350°F (170°C) degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Use Real Butter
Makes enough to generously frost 12 regular cupcakes
4oz (113g) bittersweet chocolate
6.3oz (around 1.5 sticks, 180g) unsalted butter, room temperature [I think I will cut down to 150g next time)
2 egg whites
3 oz (80g) sugar
1. Melt the chopped chocolate over a water bath or in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.
2. Place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
3. Set bowl over 1 inch of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently until mixture reaches 140°F/60°C (or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is no longer grainy when you rub it between your fingers)
4. Remove from heat and using an electric mixer, whisk on medium speed until egg whites are cool to touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand).
5. Continue beating, gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces and continue to beat. It will first look watery or separated, but after 10-15 minutes, it will come together.
6. Once desired, pipe-able consistency has been reached, fold in cooled chocolate until well incorporated.