Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter: Buttercream Frosted Cupcakes Edition!

Happy Easter! I spent yesterday making some homemade vanilla cupcakes topped with my favorite icing: Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting. It is unbelievably light, fluffy, smooth and silky ~ and not cloyingly sweet, as standard buttercream tends to be.  There is effort involved, but I promise: the results are worth it.  This recipe also gives me a chance to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which I don't pull out too often.

The recipe is below. Due to the length of time required for beating this frosting, you'll want to utilize a stand-style mixer. In addition, a candy thermometer is a must. Also, this style of buttercream yields the best results if made during a cool, dry day.

Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients:
  • 5 egg whites*
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter - cut into chunks & softened (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (other desired flavor)
  • Food grade food color for tinting frosting (optional)

    *Note: Refrigerate or freeze the egg yolks for future use in pound cake, lemon cured, or other "yolk-only" recipes.
Directions:
  • Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand-mixer & start beating on low speed.
  • In a small saucepan, pour in 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water.  Stir well to combine. Over high heat bring sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once mixture reaches the boiling point, insert candy thermometer and boil until it reaches 238 F. - also called "soft-ball" stage. (Avoid stirring the mixture during this step as it will help keep it clear.)
  • While sugar is heating, increase egg whites to high speed and add the 2 Tbsp. of sugar.
  • When egg whites reach a firm, glossy stage and hold their peaks, stop mixing - or mix on low - until sugar syrup is ready.
  • When sugar syrup reaches 238 F. - makes sure it boils for approx. 30 seconds at that temperature and then remove from heat and let set for another 30 seconds or so until boiling stops. (The syrup is HOT and can cause burns - so do not touch it.)
  • Next, while mixer is beating on medium-high speed, SLOWLY pour a thin stream of the syrup from the saucepan into the mixing bowl (near the edge) directly into the egg whites.  Be careful not to let syrup hit the side of the bowl or the beater itself. Beat the mixture on high until it becomes firm and smooth and the sides of the bowl feel close to room temperature - approx. 7 to 8 minutes. 
  • At this point, you can start to beat in the chunks of softened butter, one at a time, until all have been incorporated.  IMPORTANT:  the mixture may appear to become curdled or grainy during this process - and if this happens (& it often does) - just keep beating until the texture becomes silky and fluffy. It may take another 5 minutes or so, but it will come together!
  • Finally, beat in your desired flavoring and color until well blended. Now you are ready to frost your cake!
Below is a video of my frosting right before I added the color.
video
Tip: Any remaining frosting refrigerates or freezes well. Just bring to room temperature and whip for a few minutes until fluffy and smooth.

Enjoy!

1 comment:

Judy said...

How about I just come over to your house??? :)
Those are beautiful and I bet they taste heavenly.