Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Allergen-Free Chocolate Cupcakes



I want to like Martha. I really do. I mean I do own her "Martha Stewart Cupcakes" and "Martha Stewart Cookies" books. But it's really hard to like her when it's 10pm and the swiss meringue buttercream is curdled. It even says so in the book that the mixture might appear to curdle after adding the butter and to keep on beating. So I kept beating and what was I left with? Some sort of mixture that tastes like butter. How will I frost the cupcakes with this? So I sort of turned the swiss meringue buttercream into a buttercream simply by adding sifted powdered sugar until I got the consistency I wanted. And it tasted better too! I don't know if you would call it a buttercream though because it had egg whites in it too.. But I really want to get that swiss meringue buttercream right! It looks really nice on the pictures, I would try it again another time. Has anyone ever tried it and succeeded? I'm sure I'm doing something wrong!

Anyways so I made these cupcakes for the daycare my mom is working at and anything brought there for the children must not contain any nuts. So I figured I can't go wrong with this recipe! I had my doubts with the cupcakes when I ended up with a very liquid batter and they did turn out a bit dense, but they tasted good. I don't know if I would remake them again though, I like my cupcakes moist and cakey!

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Allergen-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes 12

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla and water until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth (batter will be very thin).

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Place cupcakes onto wire rack until cooled completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes about 5 cups

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Starting on low and slowly increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool, about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter had been added, whisk in vanilla (I used lemon extract). Switch to paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. This is when I added the sifted powdered sugar. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (I use toothpick to add a dab at a time).

2 comments:

whisk-kid said...

Hey!

I understand where you're coming from with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream problems. Swiss meringue is just a pain in the butt. It does work, but it takes a lot of getting used to. I always make it with half the amount of butter that is called for because I find that that's all you really need. When the mixture looks soupy/curdled and just looks like it's not going to come together, put it in the fridge for four or five minutes, then beat it again.

But, if you're sick of messing with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, try Italian Meringue (I use half the amount of butter in that one too). Although it does require the use of a thermometer and cooking sugar syrup, it's a lot fluffier and less fickle :D

Elsa said...

Thank you! I'll give Italian Meringue a try next time I make cupcakes!