Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Buttercream or Bust

Have you ever had a craving that just wouldn't go away until you gave in? That was me a few Sundays ago for a vanilla cupcake with strawberry icing. I had one from Prairie Girl Bakery last October, and for some strange reason- I needed to have one.

Prairie Girl is all the way downtown, so I looked up a few cupcake shops in our area. There wasn't anything that totally stood out or I felt was worth driving to, so I walked to the grocery store to pick up some butter, strawberries and a golden cake mix.

I have a copy of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes that has scratch cupcake and icing recipes. Since I have never made swiss meringue buttercream before (and in my opinion this was the most important part and I only had tolerance for one error and not two) I baked the cupcakes using a mix...

Now to the buttercream...this is relatively painful easy to make (if you know what you're doing). Despite overmixing and having to throw out my first batch, I found this website very lifesaving useful the second time around.

Strawberry Buttercream (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book)
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter cut into tablespoon size chunks at room temperature.

1. Cut up your butter first so it's able to reach room temp as you prepare the icing

2. Puree strawberries in a food processor, set aside. Combine egg whites and sugar in mixer bowl over top of a simmering pot of water and stir forever  until the sugar has completely dissolved (if you don't, your icing will be gritty.

3. Attach the bowl to the mixer with wisk attachment and starting with a low setting (2-3), working all the way up to medium-high (7-8) until soft peaks form and the mixture is glossy and fluffy. This takes 10 mins- I did 2 mins at speed 3, 3 mins at 5, 3 mins at 7, 2 mins at 8- this seemed to work well.

4. With the mixer on medium-low (3) add the butter a few chunks at the time, mixing well each time. Once it's all added, switch to your paddle attachment and continue beating 2 more mins. Then, you can add the strawberries (strain after pureeing if you don't want any chunks).

5. Frost your cupcakes!

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