Swiss Meringue Buttercream

March 28, 2010

March 2010

I finally decided to experiment with something other than American buttercream! I wanted to try a meringue, or something with cooked sugar, but I didn’t have a candy thermometer and I honestly had never really worked with egg whites before. But I found this recipe for Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Annie’s Eats – she adapted it very slightly from Martha Stewart’s recipe – and I decided to give it a try.

I picked up a candy thermometer at Walmart and it seemed to work pretty well. Then it came to putting the sugar/egg/salt mixture in the KA mixer until it formed “stiff peaks”. I had a general idea what this should look like, but never having done it before, I was flying a little blind. But I think I got it right. Next, I added an un-Godly amount of butter. I mean I like butter as much as the next girl, but when a recipe calls for it in pounds – yikes.

So, after finishing the icing and piping it onto some plain white cupcakes, the verdict is…YUM. It is very delicious and it definitely solves the over-sweet issue with American Buttercream. But it is SO RICH. I couldn’t even eat one cupcake! I’m actually not sure I’d want to ice an entire cake with it. Next time, I may try to adjust the butter/sugar ratio and see what happens.

Jen's Bridal Shower

March 15, 2010

March 2010

Jen is my future sister-in-law. She is marrying my husband’s brother at the end of April! She was also a bridesmaid in my wedding and I am a bridesmaid in hers, so I was very excited to throw her a shower (with my mother-in-law). It was the first shower I have given and I thought we all had a great time. And naturally, I volunteered to make the cake!

Jen said she wanted chocolate, but for some reason I didn’t want to do chocolate icing. For one thing, her wedding cake will be chocolate icing, and I wanted to do something different, and for another, I was thinking “light, springy” so I wanted to do something else. After much contemplation, I finally made the decision the week of the shower to go with chocolate cake, cream cheese icing, and chocolate cream cheese filling. I would make the decorations with fondant.

I mixed up 3 colors of Wilton’s fondant using Wilton’s colors: blue (Royal Blue and a touch of Black), yellow (a touch of Lemon Yellow), and green (Leaf Green and a touch of Black). I used a tulip cutter and alphabet cutters to make the flowers and the letters. I used a pizza cutter for the flower stems. I’ve decided I love using fondant for decorations. It’s surprisingly easy to work with and I think it looks very nice.

I made 2 10″ round chocolate cakes with this recipe. This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe – it is moist, chocolatey, and delicious! I also made a double batch of cream cheese icing and tinted it light blue. I used Royal Blue color, but since the icing itself was slightly yellow-ish due to the butter and vanilla, it came out a little on the green side. And finally, I made a 3/4 batch (I know, odd) of cream cheese icing and added some cocoa powder. This was the filling.

I filled and iced the cake using my new offset spatula. Have I raved about this yet? It’s amazing how that tiny little bend in the spatula can make icing SO much easier!! I’ve used it on my past couple of cakes. Anyway, I finished the icing with a bead border. I arranged the fondant letters to spell “Congratulations Jen”. And I arranged the tulips into a bouquet.

I was really pleased with the way this cake turned out. And on the stress scale, it came in very low!! And it was well received at the shower which is the important part 🙂

A Daddy Baby Shower

March 15, 2010

March 2010

Two of my male coworkers have babies on the way this month and next, so we threw the dads-to-be a surprise baby shower! I thought this was very cool of my office because dads don’t often get a shower, and really everyone deserves cake 🙂

There’s nothing too elaborate about this particular cake. I made it mid-week, so I didn’t have a lot of time, but it came out well. I used 2 boxes of Funfetti cake mix and made 2 9×13 sheet cakes and stacked them. The icing is Wilton’s buttercream. I mixed up some pink and blue using Wilton’s colors (pastels are so much easier and faster to make than brights!!).

PS: Sorry for the crappy picture. The lighting in my kitchen is not so good at 11pm!