Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

I have to admit that I love my cupcakes plain. However these days, commercial cupcakes come frosted in many types of flavours and colouring and I was tempted to follow suit. Buttercream frostings are basic and a common choice for frosting cupcakes. They are made from butter, sugar and are flavoured with vanilla essence or chocolate, etc. With some experimenting, you can probably come up with flavours which match and complement your cupcakes!

I was on a lookout for buttercreams which can last in our hot humid weather. Afterall, it will be so disappointing to see your lovely piped swirls melt into a messy puddle. Meringue based buttercreams were drawn to my attention for the stability which helps in creating better looking swirls when frosted.

There are 3 types of meringue based buttercreams - Italian, Swiss Meringue and French. You can read more about them at Wikipedia or Sweetapolita. Both articles really helped me understand what these buttercreams are and how to better prepare them.

chocolate cupcakes

My actual recipe is from Nasilemaklover (yes again! I am a big fan of her recipes but one of those silent readers like many of you). Her recipe is very detailed and there are step by step pictures to guide you along.

Chocolate cupcake 

The only few observations I made from using her recipe includes;

1. One batch of this frosting can cover about 12-15 cupcakes depending on how liberal you are with your swirls.

2. I use a Ateco 1M frosting tip as I can't seem to find Wilton 1M tip after visiting several baking stores. The swirls still look lovely and it is cheaper than Wilton. Mine was from Phoon Huat (branch near bugis) and they were going at $2 each. If you are lucky enough, you can a Wilton tip from them at $2.80. I tried Bake King and SunLik and there were available stock for Wilton 1M. However, they were going $4.80 per tip which I find over-priced.

3. Remember to keep beating till your mixture looks like a curdled mess. It will all come together at the end.

4. Do not freeze your frosting as they will turn rather hard. Initially, I had prepared the buttercream before making my cupcakes. Whilst waiting for the baked cupcakes to be cool, I placed them in the fridge and they turned hard and were un-pipable! I had to wait for the buttercream to warm to room temperature but by then there was some liquid coming out from the buttercream. If you really want to chill your buttercream, you will have to re-whip them for several minutes before use. I couldn't do so for mine as I had already placed all my cream in the pipping bag.

5. I also realised that my buttercream had small holes when I pipped them. This is due to the air bubbles trapped when whisking butter into the mixture. To have a smoother buttercream, beat on the lowest speed for a couple of minutes when the cream is almost ready to eliminate any air pockets.

6. You can flavour or colour your buttercream.

7. The buttercream was a tad too oily for me and it is likely due to the brand of butter used (I used SCS brand). For the best choice/brand of butter, check out this very interesting post by Epicurative. Now I know what type of butter to stock up on and which should used for the type of baking involved. President brand is highly recommended for buttercreams!

Chocolate cupcakes
Always leave your buttercream at room temperature to prevent them from becoming lumpy!

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