Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Today was the perfect Saturday. Maybe it's just me, but a perfect Saturday consists of movie marathons, baked goods, and lots of sleep. Leaving my house doesn't fit in there anywhere. Actually looking socially acceptable doesn't really fit in there either. Sweat pants, old tees, and messy hair are pretty standard.

Though I did actually put on jeans and mascara today. Which even I'm surprised about.

So basically it's been a pretty chill day. I was actually really excited about making these cupcakes this weekend, mainly because of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I learned how to make this divine creamy frosting last weekend and have been thinking about all sorts of different flavor variations all week. Swiss Meringue Buttercream isn't as sweet as your typical buttercream, which makes it nice for cakes-- you don't end up with a sugar bomb in your mouth. And it's soo creamy. I love it. I think you will too.

Spice Cupcakes 
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, buttermilk, or soured milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Rachael Ray
4 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter, slightly softened but still chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons Mapleine extract

Make the Cupcakes:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. 

2) Cream together the butter and shortening. Gradually add the sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, in about 3 additions each. Beat only until combined. Divide batter amongst cupcake cups (will make about 24 cupcakes), filling each 2/3 full. Bake about 12-16 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Completely cool before frosting.

Make the Buttercream:
1) Over a double boiler, whisk together the egg whites, brown sugar, and salt-- continue cooking until the mixture registers 160 F on a candy thermometer (I don't have a candy thermometer, so I just cook the mixture for a few minutes, until it feels quite warm to the touch). Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature (feel the side of the bowl, when it feels neutral to the touch, you're ready).

2) Begin adding butter gradually, one tablespoon at a time. Add the mapleine extract. Continue to beat for another 5 minutes until the mixture is creamy and all butter is incorporated. Pipe swirls of frosting on cooled cupcakes.

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