Jun 7, 2010

Chocolate Butter Cupcakes with Golden Neoclassic Buttercream

Being organized is sometimes a curse. As, for example, if you're having a party at your house and the piece de resistance will be chocolate cupcakes. But, rather than baking them the day of the party, you bake them the day before. And you make two, count them, two different buttercream frostings the night before. And they both turn out perfectly, leading you to believe that The Buttercream Curse has been lifted. And then, maybe a half-hour before people are supposed to start ringing your doorbell, you decide that the Golden Buttercream Frosting that looked so beautiful last night needs to be whipped into shape. And then it turns into a curdled mess. That is when being organized gets you nowhere. You are so bitter you think you might as well have just used supermarket frosting in a can. Frosting in a can! Yes, friends, I was contemplating frosting in a can. That is how low I went. And it's all because I rushed the buttercream.
But let's talk about happy things for a while before returning to the subject of frosting. Chocolate cupcakes are very happy things, and this recipe is so easy that it's even a cinch to double. All my cupcake pans were called into play.
A doubled recipe takes a lot of cocoa--I ran out of my usual Droste brand and used some Hershey's Natural. It's much lighter, and so my cupcakes were doubtless also lighter than if they'd been made with Droste. I can't imagine that they would have tasted any better.
Does that batter not look ultra-rich and creamy? How could cupcakes made from that batter be anything but delicious?
Just so they'd all be perfect, I weighed them out--50 grams per cake. Hmm. There appears to be a glass of wine in the background. I have no idea how that got there.
All the cupcakes came out of the oven looking good, even the ones in the silicone cups. I don't really trust silicone yet. I always think it's going to melt.
As I poured the Lyle's Golden Syrup in with the sugar, I wondered if this wasn't going to turn out to be a deceptive color--too dark ("golden") to look like vanilla.
Adding the single teaspoon of lemon to this very rich buttercream turns out to be pure genius--it's just sour enough to cut the sweetness of the frosting.
Cook the sugar, golden syrup, and lemon juice until the mixture comes to a rolling boil.
Pour the syrup in a glass measuring cup sprayed with cooking spray.
Beat the syrup into the egg yolks, and then gradualy beat in the butter and vanilla. It looked so smooth and beautiful when it was done.
It was cold, hard, and ugly when I took it out of the refrigerator the next day.
Oh, that was a sad time. Here is what the recipe says: "Bring to room temperature before using to prevent curdling and rebeat to restore the texture." It seemed like an hour would be enough to bring it to room temperature, but I can tell you that it wasn't. I rebeat it. That did not "restore the texture." Quite the opposite. I kept beating it. Then I tried the combination of beating it and swearing it at. That was about as successful as you'd think.
I had been planning to pipe on this beautiful frosting, but I ran out of time. (This is why I like it every time I read someone else saying that they ran out of time. It makes me feel better somehow to know I'm not alone).
So I ended up with one plate full of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting that was definitely sub-par in appearance, but above par in taste, even though people thought it was going to be a lemon frosting because of the color. And I had one plate of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting that was better-looking but not better-tasting. Like Jim, I preferred the taste of the Golden Neoclassic variety.
When I tasted these cupcakes, I'll admit to feeling a little resentful that I'd set myself this task of baking a different cake every week. Why couldn't I just make chocolate cupcakes every week? Why couldn't I alternate all 7 variations on the golden buttercream? I would perfect my buttercream technique. I would strew cupcakes wherever I went. People would call me "The Cupcake Lady." There would be mountains of cupcakes at my funeral. My dreams were making me so happy (except for the funeral dream--that was kind of a downer).
But it is not to be. Onward--to next week's Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake.

Jim: "I love the cupcakes. The frostings are both good, but the vanilla one is better."
Ngoc: "The cupcakes are amazing!"
Teddie: "The cupcake with vanilla frosting is a real gutbomb if it’s the only thing you have for dinner other than a handful of jelly beans."
Sara:  "This is the best cake I've ever had in my life!"


faithy, the baker said...

LOL! Sorry..i know i shouldnt laugh but you wrote it so funny, i couldn't help it.. I think it probably has got to do with the weather over your end? Perhaps next time you can try warm it up over a pan of hot water for a few secs and then beat the frosting in mixer? For me, it is the opp, i can't wait for anything to be at room temp..otherwise it will melt into puddle..i have to just take from fridge and dump into the mixer immediately.

I couldn't pipe mine either..cos it just melted into a puddle on the cupcake..lol!..so looks like a smooth frosting instead..

Even though the frosting didn't turn out looking the way you liked it to be, at least it still taste delicious with the cupcakes! :D

evil cake lady said...

so...is that canned chocolate frosting? and did teddie really only have jellybeans and cupcakes for dinner? i mean, come on, that's a suitable breakfast, but dinner? no way.

and, as fun as it is to beat and swear at hard frosting (i know firsthand), i agree with faithy; sometimes warming frosting in a double boiler is the only way to get it to cooperate.

gartblue said...

marie marie marie ..

first I'd give you a hug, then you'd need to pick me off floors, in stitches laughing over your post. hilarious!

you sure know how to tickle a rather depressed girl, over this end of the world.

anyhow, if it makes you feel any better, I thought you cupcakes look gorgeous and shhhh, I just threw away a whole 2 batches of chocolate buttercream I made which turned into a curdled mess. we've all been there before.


*rolls of the floor again, laughing*

p/s I'm making the cuppies tonight. hope to post tomorrow.

Mendy said...


Love your cupcake dreams. :)

Katya said...

That's what buttercream is for--to make you late and frustrated at the last minute. That's its job. I used leftover ganache that had failed at its original purpose of frosting a 'Sweet & Salty' caked from Baked.

Melinda said...

Dear Cupcake Lady Marie, The frosting looks just fine.
But I understand the frustration of buttercream that will not come to room temperature. My perfect raspberry buttercream did the same thing when I made the Christening cake. I happened to have all the ingredients so just made another fresh batch as I couldn't wait any longer. My nerves were fried by then, and I had thought I was so organised, too!
So did you serve jelly beans? Where did the jelly beans come from?

Monica said...

You and I are buttercream buddies (as well as piping buddies)... we should wear I HATE YOU BUTTERCREAM T-shirs and wear them every time we make the damn thing.

I opted for a totally different, not a Rose (SHOCKING!) frosting recipe and it was Easy, and it was out of this world. I will be posting it later on today, write it down and keep in in the front of the book - no more buttercream try outs for me!

And I have to agree with everyone on your post, you had me in stiches laughing - specially on Monday, at work which has NOT STARTED WELL!

Lois B said...

Oh, Marie. Your buttercream adventures remind me of Erma Bombeck. She was one of my favorites.

I'm glad they were such a hit with your tasting panel.

Vicki said...

They look quite delicious! I especially appreciated your culinary observation "I don't really trust silicone yet. I always think it's going to melt." I have my doubts about that stuff.

Marie said...

You can laugh to your heart's content. I have finally realized that it's all about temperature with buttercream, and it's very persnickety about not getting too hot or too cold.

Marie said...

Canned frosting? The heresy! No, it's a chocolate Swiss meringue recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It was pretty easy and pretty good, but I didn't talk about it because it's not one of "our" recipes.
Yes, Teddie had a dinner of just cupcakes and jellybeans. I draw the line at jellybeans for breakfast.

I could always use a hug. Sounds like you could too. I read your blog post about the raid on the ship. Plenty of sadness.

Nicola said...

Very, very funny. Isn't it great when your dreams culminate in how you will be remembered at your funeral? Literally the icing on the cupcake.

Great to know that even curdled and a bit buttery looking it still tastes great. Obviously the sign of a fab baker.

You could make these every week... as well as another cake of the week. I agree they are pretty perfect and really make the week seem much better.

Marie said...

Me too.

I never seem to have leftover ganache. It has yet to accumulate in an amount that would warrant putting it in a container. Didn't your mother let you lick out the frosting bowl when you were a child?

Teddie got the jelly beans on her own. I don't like jelly beans. And if I'd been serving her dinner, I'd have made her eat her vegetables.
The vagaries of real buttercream probably explain why most people just make frosting from butter and powdered sugar.

Talk about a love/hate relationship! I love to eat buttercream, but hate to make it. I wish I knew someone who lived to make flawless buttercream and would always come over to my house whenever I needed some.

Lois B.,
Erma was a favorite of mine too. Now she's been gone so long that we're showing our age in admitting to remembering her.

I always think things are going to explode too. (Not silicone--just things like the oven and the microwave and the water heater).

I guess everything does end up culminating in your funeral, in a way. Wouldn't a fab baker make frosting that looked good too? I'm pretty sure you're just being nice.

Hanaâ said...

Sorry to hear about your frosting issue. The cupcakes themselves look really good! I'm glad everybody enjoyed them.

I just got back from my trip Sat evening so it wouldn't have been a good idea to bake anything over the weekend. I look forward to joining you all next week with the choc-covered strawberry cake. I'll admit right away that I have a big batch of strawberry mousse sitting in my freezer that I will be using for this cake :o)

Jenn said...

Marie - I love making buttercream but not a big fan of eating it. Don't you wish Denver and the Twin Cities are an hour away now? :)
My buttercream this time failed though, so I don't qualify for the flawless requirement ^_^.

Shirley said...

Buttercream isn't my friend either, but that cake batter looks so good I could eat it with a spoon. The whole bowl.