Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cookbook Test: Buttermilk Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

For Christmas, my mom gave me a new cupcake cookbook, "Holiday Cupcakes" by Annie Rigg. The book is full of gorgeously decorated cupcakes, but unfortunately, I will have to wait until next year to decorate my cupcakes like the Christmas trees, "Snow-ho-ho-men," and little Santas. However, the book does have a few basic recipes that can be used as a base, so I decided to test out the buttermilk cake and the vanilla buttercream recipes. While the buttermilk cake batter looked lovely and fluffy when it was uncooked, it turned out fairly dry. This confirms my suspicions that the best cake batter is made with vegetable oil instead of butter (see Mint Chocolate Cupcakes). The buttercream was great, although I had to add red food colouring, since the butter made it a boring yellow colour.  My recommendation is to skip the buttermilk cake (or maybe try to tweak it somehow), but to definitely use this buttercream for your future icing endeavours. At least my cupcakes looked pretty!



Buttermilk Cake
From "Holiday Cupcakes" by Annie Rigg

12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the side of the mixing bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the mixture in alternate batches with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth, then turn to the relevant recipe.

Vanilla Buttercream 
From "Holiday Cupcakes" by Annie Rigg

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
A few drops of pure vanilla extract (I actually use white vanilla extract in order to keep the icing white)

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and, using a freestanding mixer or electric whisk, cream until really soft. Gradually add the sifted confectioners sugar until pale and smooth. Beat in the vanilla, if using.


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