Buttercream Icing

Cupcake Girl

For my daughter’s first birthday, I spent 3 weekends testing and tweaking recipes from Joy of Baking and came up with the best buttercreams I’ve ever tasted.  I am still working on the cupcake flavorings but the texture of this version is dead on.  So light and fluffy!  This was also my first experiment with Wilton cake decorating tips and bags and I had a blast.  As you can probably guess by the pictures.

butterfly cupcakes

Birthday Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups (175 grams) sifted cake flour

teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

2 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk

2 tsp lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cupcakes:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

While eggs are still cold separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).

In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour,baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add 3/4 cup (150 grams) of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape downthe sides of the bowl.Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Then,with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix in pink food coloring.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.

Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 birthday cupcakesPink and purple cupcake

Girl's birthday cupcakes

Buttercream Icing

This was the highlight of the cupcake making experience.  Huge messes were made of the entire kitchen.  This was my first experience with gel food coloring and with Wilton tips and piping bags.  The Wilton tips are so cheap it’s not even funny so if you have time and some creative energy, it’s mostly about having the right equipment.  I don’t have the steadiest hand and could never scroll “Happy Birthday” across a sheet cake like those bakers at the grocery store counter.  I’ve always been impressed with them….until I made such gorgeous work of my icing!  My son helped with the toothpicks and the gel coloring and really really really wanted to squeeze all the frosting out onto the cupcakes in a big spaghetti-style mess.  Fun times were had.  Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl.

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tbsp mascarpone cheese

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Assorted gel food colors

In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and mascarpone until smooth and well blended. Add the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. *Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores).*

Transfer 1/2-3/4 of the icing to your sugar sifting bowl. For the icing left in the mixing bowl, choose your lightest color and mix in  the color while in the bowl to ensure uniformity.  Scrape all that color into your prepared piping bag.  Add the base white icing back to the mixing bowl and mix in the next color.  Using the mixer is the only way to get the gel color evenly distributed.

Adapted from:http://joyofbaking.com/WhiteCupcakes.html#ixzz0jcP6DOit

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