Friday, January 21, 2011

First Hurdle

So my self-imposed cupcake challenge has found it's first, uh.....challenge. The cookbook truly does it all from scratch. The cake, the glazes, frosting, etc. Hooray, I say. Bring it on. Except that sometimes it doesn't always work out. Like now.

See, Link asked me to make one of the cupcakes from the book for his birthday. The peppermint ones. A vanilla cupcake with a bit of peppermint mixed into the batter, peppermint butter cream and crushed candy canes. Now seein' how I came down with bronchitis and didn't feel all that hot, I decided to cut a few corners. Cake mix cake. Easy and dependable. I didn't have the energy to deal with an unknown batter. I can tell you one thing I learned; I made two different brands and they were quite different from each other. Very interesting.

So even though I decided to cheat on the cake, I didn't want to cheat on the frosting. So I ventured into the unknown world of this butter cream that I'd never seen before. It started with egg whites and sugar in a stainless bowl over boiling water. I had to whisk it continuously until it reached at least 160 degrees. This ensures the safety of the eggs, I believe. After which, the mixture is removed from the heat and you add your hand mixer on high until the mixture forms stiff peaks. The recipe said it would take about 5-6 minutes. After 10 minutes, I still didn't have stiff peaks. It was pretty droopy. So I figured, well even if this doesn't turn out, I need to see what will happen when I start to add the butter. So, one or two tablespoons at a time, I started dropping in softened butter. Not to bad for the first 2/3 of the called-for butter. And then all of a sudden the mixture changed into this thick, not very smooth looking something-or-other. So I tasted it. It was just like a really soft, really whipped up butter that had been sweetened a little bit. Nothing like what I imagined a butter cream frosting should be. Obviously, I had to make a run to the store for premade frosting, which I whipped up to make it fluffier, added some peppermint extract and piped it all lovely onto the cupcakes.

So there it is. Aside from the few recipes that call for a glaze, the rest use that basic butter cream, flavored in different ways. Strawberry butter cream, chocolate butter cream, almond, banana, caramel swirl, chocolate malt, coconut, white chocolate, chocolate mint..... I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Probably try the recipe again. Probably do some internet research. Maybe send a few food network emails begging for help. Who knows. But, hang tight. When I get it figured out or come up with a different plan, I will let you know.

1 comment:

The McLaughlin's said...

I made some frosting during Christmas break that had to be beaten until it formed stiff peaks. I think it said 5-7 minutes and it took like 20 min. Try the frosting again, and be patient. Once you get it down a couple of times, you'll be a pro!