Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cupcakes ... and an Award

Ever since becoming a mother I naturally have a thing for cupcakes. Every birthday, every holiday, every occasion, (you get the picture) I try to whip up a batch and decorate them to the best of my ability. I always get ahead of myself of course, so the decorating doesn't always come out as I've imagined in my over-achieving mind, but somehow I get the job done.

This past weekend, a very good friend of ours celebrated her daughter's 4th birthday and I put together these sweet treats for her party. This "cake" recipe is extremely moist and the frosting, although made with so much butter, is amazingly light. I tried a ton of recipes out when I first began my cupcake forays, but this quickly became my favorite and a basic recipe I've used time and time again.

And speaking of sweet treats, ever-so kind Teresa of Mexican-American Border Cooking bestowed upon me this blog award the other day:

Thank you so, so much Teresa!

From the second I began reading your blog, I understood what an amazing person you are. Your posts are witty, entertaining and informative and I enjoy reading every one of them. Thank you again, not only for this award, but for sharing so much of yourself with all your readers and warmly welcoming us each and every time we stop by.

Cupcakes with Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Makes 18 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup milk

2 sticks butter, softened
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl (I used a stand mixer) combine softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add vanilla. Turn mixer to low and stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 the milk, alternating between the two until done (beginning and ending with the dry).

Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I'd say about 18 minutes or so). Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes in the tin. Remove from tin, place on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a bowl, cream butter and stir in vanilla. Bring about two inches of water to boil in a large saucepan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl of egg whites over the saucepan with simmering water and whisk the mixture constantly until the sugar seems dissolved (about 5 minutes or so).

Immediately place the bowl under the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high until stiff. Slowly add the butter, then beat again on medium high until the frosting is smooth and creamy. **(After mixing in the butter for a minute or so, the mixture will curdle--just keep beating it on high speed! It will become a thick, smooth frosting after a few minutes.)

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost as desired. (Since these were for a little girl's birthday, I added some whimsical royal icing decorations that you can make simply by beating an egg white and confectioner's sugar or by using a ready-made meringue powder--said to be safer for children and pregnant women--beaten with some water/lemon juice. Pipe your decorations onto wax paper and let dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours before using.)


Ivy said...

Your cupcakes are so beautiful and I loved the technique with the egg whites. Shall try it one day. Congrats for your award.

Rosie said...

Oh WOW those cupcakes are excellent!! I just adore the icing swirling on top.

Congrats on your award :)

Rosie x