These cupcakes looked so beautiful on the picture in the book that I could barely wait for it to be the New Year’s Eve to make them!
I was a bit scared too because I had never worked with buttercream before and I was worried because of the raw eggs in it (I don’t want anyone to get sick because of my cupcakes). But since there aren’t many frostings or creams that can actually be made without eggs, I had to give it a go.
Martha Stewart suggests one bowl chocolate cupcakes or buttermilk cupcakes for this recipe. I’m a big fan of chocolate, so of course I chose the chocolate ones. At first I wanted to make the devil’s food cupcakes, but I wanted to be done with baking quickly so I could work on the frosting, so I chose the easy recipe.
One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
Swiss Meringue buttercream (1/2 recipe)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (use only 1/2 of the ingredients) – makes 5 cups which is too much
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Heat sugar and eggs: Bring a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Set bowl over (not in) simmering water, and whisk until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. (Heating the eggs relaxes their proteins, enabling the eggs to whip up higher and more quickly; the sugar also melts, for a silky smooth consistency.) Test by rubbing between your fingers; the mixture should feel smooth.
2. Whip meringue: Attach bowl to a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cooled completely, about 10 minutes.
3. Mix in butter: Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating to incorporate fully after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled at this point; it will become perfectly smooth again with continued beating. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat in vanilla.
4. Finish: Switch to the paddle attachment. Beat on the lowest speed to reduce air bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature. (If not using the same day, transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days or the freezer up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature; beat with paddle attachment on the lowest speed until smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes.)
After that, you just spread the buttercream over the cupcakes and pipe the numbers (1-12) on them. Making these cupcakes wasn’t easy (especially the buttercream). I had never worked with raw eggs before, so in a way it was a challenge, because I had no idea how the frosting was supposed to come out. However, it came out perfect (it tasted good and it didn’t drip off the cupcakes, which, for me, means it’s perfect). I don’t like the amount of butter used in the buttercream, but I guess it wouldn’t be called a buttercream if butter didn’t have something to do with it. Since I don’t own a piping bag, I had to improvise a little with the chocolate numbers, but I soon lost my patience and didn’t complete the whole clock. Everyone got the idea of the clock though. And I finally got to use my red paper liners. The idea is very good and I think I’ll be making these for New Year’s eve again next year. Hopefully I’ll have bought some piping bags by then.
The recipe made 16 cupcakes instead of 18, but I did fill the liners too much and all of the cupcakes rose too high. Next time I’ll only fill them halfway.