Hello, hello, hello! Happy New Years and Happy Belated Fiesta Friday!
I know I’ve been absent for a little longer than normal. But it’s been a bit of a quiet Christmas, and I didn’t end up doing half of the things I was planning on doing. I’ve been taking the opportunity to catch up with good friends, to exercise even more, and to do a long overdue overhaul of my wardrobe so I could get in some more professional workwear while all the end of year specials were happening. So I haven’t done a lot of too much else around that.
But I did go to a wonderful New years Eve party yesterday, and it was quite probably my favourite out of the few I’ve been to. There was a delicious food, lots of which was gluten-free. There were excellent people to talk to, some of my favourite people in fact. There were games to play and comfortable places to sit, and even lie down. I laughed so much that my stomach is actually a little sore today.
I took two things along to the party, apart from carrot sticks and some dip. I made a batch of incredible Haloumi chips, the recipe is to follow in my next post, and these delicious moscato cupcakes – which I made instead of champagne cupcakes.
It was actually a bit of a trial trying to find a recipe for champagne cupcakes that didn’t use a packet cake mix for white or yellow cake mixes. I’m not entirely sure what white or yellow cake are, to be honest. I’ve never seen a cake with that label, so I’m not sure what the equivalent in Australia is. But I also wanted to make mine from scratch. I then came across the challenge of trying to find one that measured the ingredients in a manner I could replicate. This recipe looked to be the most straight forward. Although I have to say, I don’t know why the butter is measured in cups. Unsalted butter here is a large, hard block. Hacking bits off, softening them to the point of being able to force them into a cup measure, seems extremely counterproductive.
I was also thrilled to find a recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream that measured the ingredients by weight, which made it even easier to halve the recipe. I don’t know that I will ever need 8-10 cups of buttercream in my regular blogging adventures, so it was a huge relief to be able to make only as much as I actually needed. And this recipe was delicious.
But it got me thinking about how a lot of recipes are written, the difference between Australian measurements and other measurements across the world. For example, the difference in our tablespoon sizes. So I did my best to put together the ingredients, weigh them, and work out their weights and volume, and hopefully that should make it much easier for readers to follow along! But bear in mind these are just my measurements based on the ingredients I used. Your ingredients might be heavier or lighter!
Adapted from Tattooed Martha’s
Pink Champagne Cupcakes
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes: Up to 16 cupcakes, Prep: allow 1hr, including decorating, Cook: 20-30 mins, including the first stage of the buttercream
Cupcake Ingredients (as weighed by me)
- 1 cup/220g approx. sugar
- ½ cup/120g approx. unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp/5ml vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup/236g gluten-free plain flour
- 1 tsp/4g baking powder
- ¼ tsp/1 pinch salt
- ½ cup /125ml sour cream or greek yoghurt
- ½ cup/125ml pink moscato
- 5-6 drops of red food colouring (I used americolor gel colour, as it was gluten-free)
- A splash or two of milk, if you find the mix is too dry (optional).
Swiss Buttercream Ingredients (with original author’s measurements)
- 5/150g large egg whites
- 1¼ cups/250g sugar
- 1½ cups/340g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
- 10 ml vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 175C and line two cupcake tins with patty pans. Any extra patty pans can always be packed away.
- Start on the cupcakes.
- In a large bowl, combine the softened butter and sugar and cream until pale and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Then add in the vanilla.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a third bowl, combine the moscato, sour cream/greek yoghurt, and the food colouring, and whisk thoroughly.
- Add the flour and moscato mix to the egg mix and stir, alternating between flour and moscato mix, until all has been added and the mixture is well combined and smooth.
- If you find the mixture is too thick or looks too dry, you can add in a splash or two of milk. I found I had to do this for one batch because the eggs were a little small, but not others.
- Spoon the mixture into the patty pans, filling them 3/4 full, and then pop into the oven.
- Bake for 20 mins, swapping trays around halfway through, or until a skewer inserted into their centres comes out clean except or a few moist crumbs.
- Remove from the oven and tip onto a wire rack to cool.
- When the cupcakes are nice and cool, you can get going on that buttercream!
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in a large bowl over a pot of simmering, but not boiling water.
- Whisking continuously, heat the mixture until it reaches 140F on a candy thermometer, or until all the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
- Remove from the heat, and start whisking the egg white mixture until thick, stiff peaks form and the bowl is at least neutral to the touch. This can take up to 10 mins.
- TIP: I found this much easier to do in a stand mixer, otherwise just keep whisking with hand beaters. But you really do need the bowl to be neutral on the sides and underneath, as if the mix is still warm it will melt the butter!
- When the bowl is neutral, slowly add in the butter while mixing on low-speed, one cube at a time.
- Keep mixing on low-speed until well combined. There will be a stage where it might look as if the mixture is curdling, and it’s all going horribly wrong. But DON’T PANIC! This is completely normal! Just keep whipping it all on low speed and trust me, it will come back together and look smooth and combined.
- Once the mixture has come back together and is looking smooth, add the vanilla and the pinch of salt.
- TIP: If it’s not too hot in your house, I found the easiest way to have the butter at the right stage for adding it to the mixture was to chop it, and leave it in the fridge until you’re about to remove the egg and sugar mixture from the heat and start whipping it. Then I pulled it out and left it on the bench nearby. This meant it was cool, but not ice-cold, and just soft enough to beat in smoothly.
- When well combined, smooth and silky, your buttercream is ready to go! You can feel free to colour it too!
- To decorate, you can pop your preferred tip into your piping bag and fill the bag with buttercream to make your preferred design. But all I did was take a disposable piping bag, snip the tip, and fill it with the buttercream. I then drew a spiral on top of the cupcakes, starting from the outside edge coming in, to finish in the centre.