october is a good month. fall break, cool weather, and birthdays! i baked these cupcakes partly for a birthday and partly so i could play with buttercream. it was my first time making real italian buttercream and it proved difficult in a too- warm kitchen and only a hand mixer. the first batch really started to break and never came together so i scraped it and made it again in the morning. the brown sugar provided a good depth of flavor missing in regular buttercream and it wasn’t too sweet because the structure of the frosting comes from beaten egg whites instead of sugar. i piped it onto the cupcakes using a large star tip but you can just use a spatula. the actual cake was a devil’s food cake that i adapted from bon appetite. it turned out pretty dense, moist, and rich but i think i would play with the recipe a bit more so that the cake is a bit more springy and tender. but really, its the buttercream that should get all of the attention.
brown sugar buttercream
from gourmet via eatliverun
3 large egg whites at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup water
3 sticks (!) softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
in a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and water to boil. just as it starts to bubble, start beating the egg whites and the salt until soft peaks. if you have a stand mixer, this is the time to use it. otherwise, your cheap hand mixer and a big metal bowl with do. cook the sugar and water until it reaches 238-242 degrees and immediately drizzle the syrup into the egg whites while beating. keep beating the mixture until the egg whites have cooled down and the metal bowl is not too hot to touch (this took me about 5 more minutes of beating.) beat in the vanilla this time too. slowly start adding the soft butter in small pieces and beat on high until it is incorporated and you have used up all 3 sticks. continue to beat still for a few more minutes to make the buttercream even fluffier. at some point while you are adding the butter, it looks like it wont come together and look a bit soupy but keep beating it and it will magically come together. i made this when the kitchen was too hot so the buttercream broke and would not come together so try to make this is relatively cool place.