April 17, 2010
A "Tiery" Time
Recently I was asked to make some cakes for a couple of friends. The mud cakes turned out great and are reliably consistent and delicious although terribly wicked. Happy customer. Happy cakemaker. Happy twenty first recipient.
The other request was by a friend whose future daughter-in-law wanted cupcakes. A casual engagement party. Her only request was that they be purple and white. A darker purple, not the lilac kind. And that was it. The creation was all mine. Now I must confess to a slight case of nerves. Good nerves though. Not the shake-in-my boots, pull-out-my-hair, oh-my-god-I-can't-do-this kind of nerves. Actually I was very impressed with myself if I may be so bold. I put in some practise to discover a really great buttercream recipe. I then made the cupcakes from the exact same cookbook and they equally turned out extremely well.
The book is surprisingly called "cupcakes" by Shelly Kaldunski. It's a little gem and of all the cupcake books out there at the moment I was very pleased I made the "right" choice. You have to have a good foundation, so once the buttercream and the cake mixture was mastered, my creativity stepped in and I became rather caught up in the whole cupcake affair. I will even go so far as to say I enjoyed it, which I really didn't think I would.
Cupcakes sure can be fiddly. They can also be awfully rewarding. It was so lovely to hear the gasps of delight as I assembled the tier on the night. Instead of hiring a stand which I felt was outrageously expensive, I bought a "high tea" stand, covered it with some organza material and white and purple ribbon. Underneath I roll hemmed a gorgeous deep purple piece of fabric upon which the whole thing sat. You can only visualise so much.
On the night I ended up scattering extra sugar hearts and fondant flowers and silver, pearl cachous to add some tizz. Together with a scattering of gold crystal and purple speckled glitter dust, this cupcake creation was definitely demanding to be noticed. And noticed it was. Although it was in a poorly lit dim part of the room, it didn't stop people from coming up and taking photos and admiring it throughout the evening.
Again. Happy customer. Happy cupcake maker. Happy engaged couple. I had heaps of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my tiery time.
recipe from "cupcakes" by Shelly Kaldunski
200gm plain flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
90gm unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml whole milk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 180degrees C. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper or foil cases.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2-3minutes. Add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well on low speed after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about thrity seconds; do not overbeat.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. 18-20minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about one hour.
Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. The frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. bring to room temperature before finishing. Garnish the cupcakes the the coloured sugars and nonpareils, if using and serve.
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
250gm unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
flavourings of your choice
In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 71degC on an instant-read thermomenter), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), about 6 minutes.
With the mixer on medium low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Add the flavourings of your choice and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away.