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March 10, 2017

Lemon Swiss Buttercream Cupcakes with Blueberries

I have said it so many times here, but it remains one of my essential philosophies - I love being able to make something beautiful from nothing.  I love that when I want to give a beautiful gift, I do not run to a bakery, or a florist.  I make it.  There is such pleasure in making something, especially something that really is beautiful.  

The secret is, beautiful is often simple.

There are no fancy tips or complex techniques at use here, just simple colors, simple flavors and a simple presentation.  But that is the key - the edited, simple look is what makes it beautiful.  It is the lack of large ribbon, the lack of a giant pile of too-sweet frosting, the edited small scale blueberry and mint garnish.  The beauty lies in the editing, in the simplicity.  

True elegance lies in restraint.  When you have the means and ability to go big, but you are sure enough of trusting the beauty of simplicity.  It is having the means to serve beef tenderloin and lobster at a party, but serving a big platter of spaghetti and meatballs instead.  Or having a shoestring budget and making Homemade Pasta (which costs virtually nothing!).  Knowing that abundance is found in style, versus elaborate expenses or indulgence.

Beautiful and homemade.

It is taking the time to make something with your hands.  Time is so valuable to us.  Instead of jumping in your car to spend the day running errands, stay home.  Open your windows, pour a cup of coffee and bake something.  Make something pretty to give to someone.  

Of course, pretty ribbon and boxes always help : )

I love this ribbon.  See that delicate stitched edge?  The color is soft and pretty.
I have 8 colors of this ribbon available, including a natural with a metallic gold thread that will be a staple for me.

If I have a stock of kraft boxes and pretty ribbon in my pantry, I always have the tools to make a gift. Not having to run around town and gather the tools makes making more of a pleasure for me and is one of the reasons I started my online store - to bring you all the simple and pretty that used to seem too hard to find.

To turn plain cupcakes into something pretty just takes a tiny bit of style.

And really, silk smooth, luscious not too sweet Swiss Buttercream.

Lemon Butter Cake, recipe here
makes about 12-16 cupcakes

Swiss Buttercream Recipe

2 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 sticks of butter, softened
food coloring

Create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Add sugar and egg whites.  Whisk constantly over the simmering water until the sugar has melted.  It will feel smooth between fingers, when sugar granules have dissolved.

Pour egg white mixture in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whisk on high for 5-8 minutes until it creates a glossy meringue and has cooled completely.  Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add vanilla and food coloring.

Double Boiler made with glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.

The egg mixture is whirling around, turning into gloriously glossy meringue.

I used the yellow and blue stripes for these cupcakes.  I'll save the other colors for Easter... or another Thursday afternoon.

In case you've never made meringue - this is it!

Emma adding room temperature butter into the meringue, a little at a time.

The butter transforms the meringue into swiss buttercream.  I tinted it with a touch of yellow.  I wanted it to be the color of buttery, creamy butter.

Of course, you can just spread on without a piping bag, but the piping does give it a little bit of polish - and is easier than spreading.

Disposable Pastry Bag, 12" Roll of 100, $14

An afternoon well spent!

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