Monday, June 1, 2009

BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES

Another birthday calls for more cupcakes. I obviously slated myself to provide the goodies and to hone in on my new found culinary skills;  so here they are.  Vanilla bean buttermilk cupcakes topped with a yellow vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream. Ahh, my chef instructor would be so proud.

I made 1 dozen regular sized cuppies followed by 1 dozen mini's.  The minis are exact clones of their parents (the regulars). They are so freakin cute. As for the taste of these cuppies..whoa.  Who knew vanilla bean buttermilk cupcakes could be so incredibly delicious. The recipe calls for vanilla extract, but I went the extra mile and added an additional vanilla bean (the seeds) for an extra vanilla kick. It definitely did the trick, as these were bursting with vanilla! These cupcakes were very moist and soft and the Swiss meringue buttercream added the perfect compliment.

I put these in a beautiful linen box and wrapped a bow around them. Nothing beats a birthday present quite like cupcakes.  This recipe came from the much adored book, Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes. Go buy this book, it's incredible!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
from Sky High, Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with vegetable oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.
Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing bowl, add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup of the frosting over the layer, right to the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and use all but 3/4 cup of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. With an offset spatula, smooth out the frosting all over. Place the remaining frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe a shell border around the top and bottom edges of the cake.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 c egg whites (from about 6 large eggs)
1 1/2 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 lb 4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract (or seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean)
squeeze of lemon juice

1)Combine the egg whites, sugar and pinch of salt in a large metal bowl (I usually do this right in my stand mixer bowl).  Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler-style), and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.  The mixture will feel hot to the touch.

2)Transfer the hot mixture to your stand mixer and whip on high speed until it turns white and about doubles in size.  This will take about six minutes.  Beat in the vanilla and the lemon juice.

3)Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, on medium speed, mixing after each addition.  Raise the speed and beat until smooth; this may take up to ten minutes.  The mixture may appear curdled along the way; this is normal.  Just keep beating and the mixture will become smooth again.

-Buttercream will keep, covered air-tight and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.  Bring to room temperature, then beat on low speed before using.




7 comments:

Snooky doodle said...

wow these cupcakes look so nice. Wish I could just grab one. I m drooling :)

Monica H said...

Ooh, I've made this recipe before and it is very good! These cupcakes are so pretty!

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Ingrid said...

Oh, those are pretty darn cute! I like how you edged them in bright ly colored sprinkles.
~ingrid

Beth said...

Those are gorgeous! How did you get the sprinkles around the edges SO perfectly?

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in making these. But I know some cake flours are self rising and some are not. Which one does this recipe call for?

Thanks

Melissa said...

hi--this recipe calls for cake flour that is NOT self rising..enjoy!