I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut lately with frosting. Since I discovered this white chocolate buttercream frosting, I have put it on every cake it could conceivably match. It’s delicious. A few months ago I tweaked the recipe a bit, with phenomenal results that I haven’t shared yet, in case my brother and sister-in-law host their cake contest (they have held a series of competitions with family and friends, from appetizers to chili to pie, and they keep hinting at cake…). Just in case that competition happens and I make it home for it, I want the recipe to be fresh.
Anyway, back to this weekend.
Strawberries were on sale, so I brought home a pint, prompting my 4-year-old to suggest (emphatically) that I make strawberry cupcakes. I don’t have a recipe for berry cakes, so I had to search online and came across The Recipe Rebel.
I followed the cupcake recipe exactly, except they spent almost double the suggested time in the oven: over 25 minutes before the toothpick came out clean. They are good. On the dense side, but not in a bad way. My strawberries weren’t incredibly sweet, so I could have punched up the flavor a bit. Still, the story here isn’t the cupcakes, it’s the frosting.
I thought I’d probably add some strawberry puree to the white chocolate frosting and call it a day, but I was reminded that the whole point of this hobby is to try new things. And I haven’t used eggs in frosting since the very first cake I made from the Cake Bible back on New Year’s Eve, 2015.
That one was plain-looking but delicious and helped inspire the original Year of Cake, so it was worth giving eggs another try.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (mildly adapted from The Recipe Rebel)
- 3/4 cup sugar (150g)
- 2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup liquid egg whites)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed (1 1/2 sticks)
- 100 grams fresh strawberries, pureed (1/2 cup strawberry puree), plus 1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or simple syrup
- 1/3 cup powdered icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Heat sugar and egg whites in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, put 1 inch of water in a small pot and heat sugar and egg whites in a glass or metal bowl that can sit on top of the pot without touching the water.
- Whisk over heat until sugar is dissolved and temperature (from a candy thermometer if you have one) reaches 160 degrees, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.
- Add butter one cube at a time, beating after each addition.
- Beat in the strawberry puree and beat until smooth (As Recipe Rebel says: it might start to look funny and clumpy at this point — keep going! It will whip up nice and smooth. For me that took several more minutes of beating).
- Beat in powdered sugar to taste. I used a little over 1/3 cup, which may have been a bit much.
- Beat in salt, to taste.
As I was working with this, I was a bit worried about the texture, which looked a bit grainy.
By the end, though, it piped really nicely. I did a few variations of the classic cupcake swirl using a Wilton 1M tip.
It’s cold here now (currently 9 degrees outside) so I am not sure how it will hold up to heat, but they still look perfect after and afternoon sitting out and 2 days covered in the fridge. More importantly, the taste is great. It’s much more delicate than the decadent white chocolate, and next time I get an excuse I am going to pair it with a chocolate genoise or a gingerbread. (Local readers: give me an excuse, and you will get a cake!)