I am making FunFetti cupcakes for my older granddaughters birthday party this week. I made two practice batches of cupcakes and one of American buttercream. The cakes are now great but the frosting was too sweet. (Think 60 seven-ish year old kids on sugar highs.)
Today I made a recipe of Italian buttercream frosting. It uses about one fourth the amount of sugar and will (hopefully) stand up to the expected outdoor temperature.
I had about a dozen chocolate cupcakes frozen that needed to by used soon, and I had a nice frosting, so, why not?
Mix 1½ cups (3/4c) of the sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook,without stirring, and bring to the softball stage (240°F).
As the simple syrup is heating, whip the whites at high speed in a stand mixer until soft peaks form, approximately 5 minutes. With the motor running, add the remaining ½ cup (1/4c) sugar gradually, continuing to whip until medium peaks form.
When the simple syrup reaches 240°F, and the motor running on slow, very slowly pour it into the egg whites in a thin stream, to avoid cooking the eggs. Raise the speed to high and continue to whip until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
Whip in the butter at medium speed, add the butter in 5 increments, stopping the motor between additions, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding each addition of butter.
With the motor running, add the vanilla, and whip just until it is blended.
Those of you who follow this blog know I almost always make a practice cake of any new bake. My almost 7 year old granddaughter wants a “FunFetti cake” for her birthday in a couple of weeks. I found this recipe and method and tried it this morning.
I think I over-baked the cake by about 3 or 4 minutes and know I over baked the cupcakes. I’ll try again making only cupcakes (as that is what we will serve at the party.) 80 cupcakes!
INGREDIENTS CAKE: • 2 ½ c AP flour • 1/4 c cornstarch • 1 tsp kosher salt • 2 tsp baking powder • 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature • 1 ½ c sugar • 4 large egg whites • 1/4 c vegetable or canola oil • 1 Tbl clear imitation vanilla • ½ tsp almond extract • 3/4 c whole milk (2% OK) • ½ c rainbow sprinkles (artificially colored cylinders) FROSTING: • 1 3/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature • 3 ½ c powdered sugar • 1/8 tsp kosher salt • 1 ½ tsp clear imitation vanilla • 1/4 tsp almond extract (omit for nut free) • 2 Tbl whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans or line 24 cups of two muffin tins.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the oil and the extracts.
With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined. Do NOT over beat!.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sprinkles until they’re evenly distributed. Distribute the batter among the cake pans or muffin cups, spreading it out evenly if using cake pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes for cakes and 16 minutes for cupcakes. (Depends on your oven.)
Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. FROSTING:
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the salt, extracts, and milk and beat to combine.
Last night I made a clone of the macadamia nut cookies we had in Kauai. Basically, they are a shortbread cookie with fine ground macadamia nuts in the batter, and a dark chocolate coating.
Roll the dough into an approximation of a rectangle to minimize waste and chill for two hours. Cut the chilled dough into 1”x2” rectangles and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. They do not spread so they can be placed fairly close together (like 1/4” – 1/2” apart.)
Once baked and completely cooled melt ~200g of dark chocolate and 1 Tbl corn syrup and dip one corner in the mix. Transfer the remainder to a piping bag. Sprinkle some coarse crushed macadamia nuts on the still wet chocolate and let the piping bag of chocolate cool and thicken slightly. Snip the end off the bag and pipe a chocolate swirl across the cookie. Leave to dry at room temperature or in the fridge.
QC said these may be the best cookies Dede’s Bakery and Confectionery ever made! High praise indeed.
Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies
INGREDIENTS • 1 cup butter, room temperature • 3/4 cup powdered sugar • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 2 cups flour • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped • 8 oz. dark chocolate • 1 Tbl corn syrup • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
Beat the butter until smooth and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually add flour then mix in the 1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts.
Transfer the batter to a sheet of parchment paper. Lay a second sheet over top and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Try to shape into a rectangle as much as possible. Place it onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°F and remove dough from refrigerator.
Slice the cookie batter into 1×2 inch rectangles. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The edges should be slightly browned.
Cool the cookies completely.
Melt and mix the chocolate and corn syrup then dip the corner of the cookies in the chocolate. Gently remove any excess chocolate, lay it out on a sheet of parchment and sprinkle with some finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Place into the fridge to set the chocolate and then serve.
An early episode of GBBO featured English Teacakes. They simply called them Teacakes but as American Tea Cakes are very popular in the southern US, I added the ‘English’ modifier for clarity.
Teacakes are a classic sweet yeasted bun with dried fruit and aromatic spice. English cafes serve teacakes, usually toasted, liberally buttered along side a pot of tea.
The term, teacake, derives from a tradition of ‘yeast cakes’ and are more bread-like than cake-like. They are basically a simple bread dough enriched by adding extra fat (usually butter and/or eggs) so it becomes softer with a delicate crumb.
Teacakes – Traditional English
INGREDIENTS • 1 cup milk (236 ml) warmed to 100 – 110 °F (38 – 43°C) • 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast • 4 tablespoons sugar • 3 ½ cups (455 grams) all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 teaspoon all spice • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger • 1 cup (128 grams) dried currants, raisins or cranberries • 6 tablespoons unsalted melted butter • 2 large beaten eggs • Zest of a large lemon – optional replacing some spices from above • 1 additional beaten egg combined with 1 Tbl water for an egg wash
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the milk, yeast and sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes (maybe more) until you start to see it bubble a little.
Add the flour, salt, spices and currants and mix well.
Add the butter and beaten eggs. Use a flat beater to incorporate the liquids into the flour. When the dough comes together, use a dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. It should be slightly but not overly sticky. Add more flour by the tablespoon until that is achieved. It should not clean the walls of the bowl.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 mins to rise.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into 12 balls (~90g each) and shape each into a bun that is a flat round.
(12 balls will make a traditional teacake size. Divide into 45g balls for small snack sized cakes. Adjust the bake time accordingly.)
Place evenly spaced onto the baking sheet and cover loosely with a towel. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until they double in size.
Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.
Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (time may vary depending on your oven). I rotate the pan after 8 minutes to compensate for uneven temperature in the oven.)