Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I've always admired the beautifully presented cupcakes you see on TV or in bakery's. I've wanted to make a perfectly flavored vanilla cupcake for years. The other day I was searching Martha's website and found these yummy recipes.

The cake flavor is wonderful! However, the cake is much more dense than your store bought mix. I'm not sure if that is due to lack of skill or it's the recipe. If any of you more experienced bakers know please leave a comment. Maybe, it's the quality of the ingredients I used. I'd love to learn more.

Vanilla Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cubs (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in 3 batches of flour mixture, alternating with 2 batches of milk. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until thoroughly blended, 10 to 20 seconds.

2. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 minutes (add 5 minutes when baking both tins at the same time.) Let cool in tin on wire rake for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin; let cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
4 cups (8 cubes or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Add the butter, one piece at a time and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry about 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.

4. 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.

This frosting is so light and sweet.

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