Thursday, March 10, 2011

Butterfly and Flowers Cake

My little cousin Julia just turned five. And she is the girliest little girl you'll ever meet. Her favorite colors are pink and purple and she loves to dress up in ballerina and princess costumes—gloves, rings, shoes, and all. She's adorable. She called me on the phone and asked me to make her a white cake filled with strawberries. She stressed that the strawberries must be "fruit" and I assured her they would be. She also told me she likes pink, purple, and butterflies. I made her a white cake and dyed one layer pink and the other layer purple. I sandwiched a ton of strawberries (the fruit) inside and got ready to top the cake with fresh whipped cream. I wasn't sure how well it would hold up if I piped it, so I decided to forgo the whipped cream and use a smooth swiss meringue buttercream instead. This frosting takes a little longer to prepare than traditional buttercream, but it's worth it. The consistency is more like whipped cream, so it's not as easy to pipe as buttercream. It's whippy, creamy, and buttery—and don't forget heavenly. I used merignue powder in place of the egg whites and the results were nothing less but perfect.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
6 teaspoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons warm water
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks butter, cut into 16 pieces (room temperature)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large heatproof bowl (or stand mixer bowl) combine meringue powder, water, and sugar. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer to stand mixer.

Using the whisk attachment, whip mixture on high until it holds stiff peaks (about 6 - 7 minutes). Continue beating and add the butter a few pieces at a time. Add coffee. Continue beating until buttercream is thick, smooth, and glossy (about 3 - 5 minutes).

*If mixture starts to look curdled, keep beating.

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