I apologize for the lack of updates. I have a blog post actually written up for a different bake I can’t seem to perfect. … I gave up and was just going to write you a fail story but as I was writing the post I found some new motivation to try to make it once more. Just once! I really wanted it to work!
So instead we are going to talk about cupcakes!!! I mentioned in my Gourgère post that I was going to make cupcakes for the baby shower (the baby is now born by the way, I took too long to write this). In my mind, it was going to be those pastel-y unicorn colour cupcakes, I’d swirl some pastel pink, yellow and blue together in the buttercream and it’d look SO AMAZING. Because the buttecream needed to be white for all the colours to show up best, I decided I’ll keep the buttercream vanilla flavoured and put the flavours in the cake.
I used the same base cupcake recipes as the Vanilla Chai Cupcakes I made before. When you add in some fresh fruits they do bring in quite a bit of moisture into the batter, so the bake time might be a bit longer than usual. Which is completely fine, I will watch it like a hawk! The cupcake batter is also quite a stiff so I think it might do it some good to add a bit of extra moisture.
So the cakes turned out just fine. They were quite tasty.
The decoration…. not so much. My coworkers happily ate them up and told me they thought it looked so fun and fantastic. They are really sweet people on account of all the sugar I fed them I guess. …. it just, it was just so far away from what I imagined not even the fancy cupcake cases saved them in my eyes.
As with most things I failed at, let’s give this another go.
Things I learned from the first try:
1. I put whole blackberries into the batter, so the fruit distribution was not great. I had cakes with more berries than batter and I had cakes with hardly anything to it. So for the second try I blitzed the frozen berries in the food processor.
2. Because the batter is so thick it is so hard to tell how much I have filled in each of the cupcake cases. So after pouring the batter in I’ve decided to let it sit for a little bit so it sorta… levels out and you can get an idea how much batter is in each case.
3. I have decided to forego the Swiss Meringue Butter Cream that I swear by and go with a *gasp* standard American Buttercream. And the reason is mainly because I really wanted to add fruit flavours into this buttercream and SMBC has a much higher chance of breaking when you introduce high moisture additives like fruit purée. I have watched some youtube videos that promised to make amazing ABC so I was really motivated to give it a try.
The cupcakes turned out fine! They were very good, I enjoyed them. The best part is that the buttercream also turned out great! I was a bit concerned because the reason I usually avoid ABC is I think it is too sweet, but with the addition of lime juice and fruit purée I felt like it managed to take that sweet edge off and it was very good! I also love the colour, it is right for this week with valentine and Lunar New Year. Well, I am happy enough to share this with the internet.
For the Cupcakes: (adapted from Bigger Bolder Baking)
240g Unsalted Butter, cubed and room temperature
240g All Purpose Flour
240g Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Zest of 1 Lime
1-2 Tbsp of Lime juice
About 1 1/2ish cup of Frozen Berries (or an amount to your taste)
1. The amount frozen berries is an estimate, use more or less as you like. Keep in mind more means longer baking time. Put the frozen berries in a food processor and let them chop into smaller pieces. You don’t have to do this if you are using raspberries and/or blueberries. But if you use blackberries like I did, chopping it up will help fruit distribution. If you use fresh berries, just cut into smaller pieces or skip this step altogether.
2. Preheat oven to 180°c/356°f
3. In your mixer bowl, whip your butter up until it is pale. When in doubt, whip it some more until it is really fluffy. Once fluffy, add in your sugar and whip again until white and fluffy.
4. Add in your eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.
5. Sift in your flour/baking powder, mix into the batter. If you are using a mixer, mix this in slow speed until just mixed. Don’t overmix.
6. Roll your berries in some flour, then stir them in along with your zest and lime juice. Coating the berries in flour is supposed to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake. I’d hand mix the berries in particular so you don’t break all the berries and squeeze out all the juices.
7. Line a cupcake tray and scoop out the batter into the cupcake cakes. Fill the cases to about 3/4 full. Let sit for about a few minutes to see how well you did in the dividing. … or don’t if you think it’d be fine. It probably is.
8. Bake in the oven for 12-18 minutes. If your oven has hot spots like I do, turn the tray around midway to ensure even cooking. Stick a skewer into the cupcakes, if they come out clean, they are done!
9. Let it cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
For the Buttercream: (Recipe adapted from Cupcake Jemma)
150g Unsalted Butter, room temperature, soft and pilable
320g Icing Sugar, sifted
1-2 Tbsp Lime Juice
3-4 Tbsp Blueberry Purée
1. For a berry puree, put the berries and a bit of lemon juice into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the berries soften and juices running out. Pop the berries and juice into a food processor or use a stick blender. Puree berries, then strain it over a fine sieve to get a smooth final product. I am not specifying how much of what because you should do that to taste.
2. In your mixer bowl, whip up the butter for about 3-4 minutes until it is almost white. When you think it is done, whip it some more. The butter should be really fluffy.
3. Sift in half of your icing sugar. Turn your mixer back up at low speed so the sugar has a chance to mix in first. Add in the second half of sugar. Once all the sugar has been added and incorporated, turn mixer back up to high speed and whip the mixture till really fluffy and smooth.
3. Add in lime juice and blueberry puree, one tablespoon at a time. Watch closely at the consistency of the buttercream. If you want it softer and looser, add more liquid. Keep in mind when it is softer it will not hold its shape as well after piping.
4. Once the buttercream is ready, put your favourite piping tip into a piping bag and fill it up with buttercream. I used an open star tip here for the classic look. You can use whatever suit your fancy and pipe away!
5. If you refrigerate them, don’t forget to let the cakes come back to room temperature before serving. Cold buttercream is gross, don’t serve that to people.