I haven’t seen you all in almost a month.
I’m a terrible person, I know.
I was unfortunately sequestered in my room, with Microsoft Word glued to one hand and a pile of books glued to the other. Then, I was on a plane back to the States (did you notice the header change??). And then, Christmas happened. It’s been a whirlwind of a month, let me tell you. But I am back and extremely excited to be sharing some lovely treats with you again!
I was craving gingerbread like CRAZY throughout the beginning of December. However, I was too stingy to buy the spices, and in any case I couldn’t find any molasses. I was also dying to make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I told many people this. I think they were a little concerned about my obsession.
…until they had some.
Most of my family had never even heard of Swiss Meringue Buttercream, much less tasted it. It was a hit, without a doubt. I’m in love and it’s only the second time I’ve made it. It’s just…perfect. It’s light, not too sweet, holds up well for a variety of piping techniques, and is easily adaptable. It’s my new favorite thing. And as long as you have a stand mixer and do some research, it’s super easy. I recommend reading the posts on Bakers Royale and Sweetapolita. They’re pros.
So, this Christmas, I kept it simple. Gingerbread cupcakes. Vanilla SMB.
As you can see, the cupcakes were rather flat. This might have been my fault, as I had to make them in a rush and didn’t get to bring my eggs to room temp. Or, it might just be the proper result of the recipe. I used Taste of Home’s recipe, so try this and let me know if it works differently for you :). They tasted wonderful, with a moist crumb and a lovely aftertaste.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in water and molasses. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; add to the creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
- Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, I used the Bakers Royale recipe, with a teaspoon of vanilla put in at the very end.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Bakers Royale
Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and place it over (not on) simmering water. Heat mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools, doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes.
- Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first—this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
- Add salt and vanilla, mix to combine.
When making a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, there are a few tips I would like to point out, as I found them useful.
First, make sure your butter isn’t too warm. The butter should be cool but not cold, and just give to the touch. It should not be too soft either–you don’t want a soupy warm mess for your frosting. Alice of Savory Sweet life said, “The texture should be similar to ice cream, soft enough to scoop but firm enough to hold it’s shape.”
Second, Sweetapolita suggests that you switch to a paddle attachment, but I thought the frosting worked just as well using the whisk attachment the whole time.
Third, to store extra frosting, just put it in an airtight container in the fridge and bring it back to room temp when you want to use it, then whip it with a paddle attachment. When I did this, it was still a little cool after an hour or two and wasn’t whipping up properly. To fix this, I melted a bit of the frosting in the microwave and added it back to the frosting. This melted the butter just enough to bring the whole mixture together. Perfection.
These would be super cute with mini gingerbread men on top :)
So glad to be back, and Happy Holidays to all!!