Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Splurge: Birthday Cupcakes with Boiled Icing

Ok, this one is on the healthy side for a good scratch cake, especially one that's iced, but the boiled icing can be a MAJOR pain, which means it's going into the Saturday section for that reason alone. One of my friend here turned 22, and she often makes things for other peoples' special events, so I thought it was fitting to make *her* something cool. I wanted to do a cake, but then realized that we really don't have proper pans, but we DO have cupcake tins. I figured that if I was going to do that, I may as well make it look purposeful. Check the pictures to decide if I succeeded on that front.

If you make cupcakes out of this, the recipe should give you 20. After drawing out what I wanted to write with little circles, I decided I needed 4 dozen, multiplied the recipe by 2.5, and ended up with 52. Some were a little small, so 20 is a better estimate. Your time will be different than my convection oven, but I think it was 15-20 minutes. Not bad at all! That's about how long it took me to do the silly icing. The first batch, anyway. As luck would have it, I was just short and got to have the pleasure of making it a second time.

This icing, though is like a dream. A marshmallow-ish, light, fluffy, can't-stop-eating-it dream. I may get a candy thermometer for this icing alone. Because, let me tell you, boiling sugar and water to the soft ball stage, checking for ball-ness in a container of ice water, is not actually my idea of fun. The cake is pretty good, but I would probably go for a strawberry box cake and just put this icing on top the next time.

Yes, I know, I left the bowl of extra icing in the 22. I moved it and took another pic, but you couldn't see the details as well!

Birthday Cake with Boiled Icing (AKA Italian Meringue Icing)
Serves: 16-20 Prep time: 20-40 minutes, depending on your icing luck

Cake directions:
Cooking spray
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (or skim milk + 1Tbs lemon juice)

- Preheat oven to 350°F
- To prepare cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.(Or line cupcake pan with papers, or grease & flour)
- Place 2 cups sugar and unsalted butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mix after each addition.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove cake from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool completely on wire rack.

Icing directions:
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

To prepare icing
- Place cream of tartar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
- Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring mixture frequently, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 238°F.
- Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Be careful to AVOID beaters!
- Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Spread icing over tops of cupcakes.

Nutrition info (for 1 cupcake, or 1/20th of recipe): Calories - 264 Fat - 8g Carbs - 45g Protein - 3.8g

1 comment:

  1. We have two candy thermometers, both mine, so I will put one in your box I have ready to go but not taped shut yet *o*


Try this and want to share how it went? Have questions before you try it? Let me know!