Tag Archives: Buttercream

Strawberry Cupcakes with Buttercream Flowers

26 May

May 26th, 2015 

I’m really excited to share these cupcakes because of how happy I am with them. I used fresh strawberries, which I picked up from the weekend farmer’s market, to flavor the cupcakes and buttercream. We usually get strawberries from our favorite stand, Rodriguez Farms, and I knew they would be a great addition to the cupcakes.

It was my first time in awhile to pipe flowers using buttercream, which I was a little nervous about. With the help of a few YouTube tutorials I went to work. After piping a few initial flowers, it became second nature. The overall process can be a bit time-consuming, but after assembling everything, it was very well worth it.

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Strawberry Cupcakes

16 oz sugar (I reduced to 14 oz)
½ C oil
2 eggs
1 C heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
7 ⅓ oz AP flour
7 ⅓ oz cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
1 – 1 ½ C strawberries

Y = 34 cupcakes

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse strawberries. Strain strawberries over a clean bowl. Reserve the juice to flavor the buttercream. Set aside strawberry pulp.
  2. Combine oil and sugar together in a mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment to mix to combine.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk, mixing in between. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Add strawberry pulp to the batter and mix to combine.
  8. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  9. Divide batter evenly into cupcake pan, filling a little over halfway.
  10. Bake at 350F for 15-7 minutes.

Strawberry Buttercream
3/4 C egg whites
9 oz sugar
1 lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ C strawberry juice

Directions

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape down sides if necessary.
  7. Add strawberry juice to taste. (The juice will add a hint of color. I reserved about half of the buttercream before adding the juice as I wanted to use white as the base for the cupcakes.)

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To Assemble

  1. Divide buttercream and add food coloring if you are planning on having different color flowers.
  2. Pipe buttercream roses. I found this YouTube video and this quite helpful.
  3. Place flowers in the refrigerator and allow them to harden, about 30 minutes.
  4. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the frosted cupcakes.
  5. Carefully place flowers on top of cupcakes.
  6. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.

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Hazelnut-Salted Caramel Macarons

24 Nov

   November 24th, 2014

2014-11-23 05.02.53This weekend I spent some time preparing for the Holidays including making pie dough, pie filling, cookie dough and macarons. Thanksgiving is in two days and Christmas is just around the corner. To save myself time, I try to make whatever I can ahead of time. Macarons are one of the things that I usually make ahead and they keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, and even longer in the freezer. I decided on a hazelnut shell filled with salted caramel buttercream. The homemade salted-caramel was very easy and the taste by itself was irresistible! A little bit of salted-caramel in the buttercream goes a long way, so I still have a jar of it left. Perhaps salted caramel ice cream is in the future?

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Hazelnut Macarons: Recipe can be found here

Salted Caramel:
½ C sugar
⅛ C water
¼ C heavy cream
1T butter
¼ tsp – ½ tsp sea salt

Y= about ½ C

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Slightly whisk to mix.
  2. Heat on medium until the mixture turns a deep amber color. Do not stir when the mixture is heating up. Keep an eye out on the mixture and do not let it burn.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat once desired color of the caramel is reached. Add the heavy cream (mixture will slightly bubble up). Slightly whisk to combine.
  4. Add the butter and sea salt. Add more salt for a saltier taste.
  5. Allow caramel to cool.

Salted Caramel Buttercream:
4.5 oz sugar
¼ C + ⅛ C egg whites
8 oz butter, softened and cut into pieces.
1-2 tsp salted caramel (adjust as needed)

Y= this was more than enough to fill 60 macarons. I have about half of the buttercream left.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add salted caramel, ½ tsp at a time to the buttercream. If you like a more salty, caramel flavor, add more caramel.2014-11-23 05.41.502014-11-23 05.57.41

Hazelnut Macarons

26 Jul

July 26th, 2014

These macarons were made specifically for my husband’s co-worker’s surprise bridal party. He originally wanted to order some desserts, but I volunteered to bake some treats for the special occasion. The team surprised the bride with macarons, cupcakes, and champagne and decorated her cube with confetti and paper streamers. She was definitely taken by surprise and did not expect it at all.

2014-07-11 12.42.31                 Chocolate Cupcakes and Hazelnut Macarons for the bride-to-be2014-07-11 12.42.49My plan was to make hazelnut macarons by substituting some of the almond flour with hazelnut flour. I have done this in the past before, but with a different ratio of the flours. This time, I replaced most of the almond flour with the hazelnut flour and the outcome of these little rounds of joys was a tasty surprise. Upon first bite, these macarons reminded me very much of the chocolate candies we ate as kids- Ferrero Rocher. The crisp, nutty shell along with the chocolate buttercream filling was very similar to the tastes of the chocolate candy. Ferrero Rochers consists of a hazelnut in the center, filled with hazelnut cream, enclosed within a wafer shell, and a chocolate outer coating.

I loved these candies and these were always a treat when we were younger. I rarely eat them now since I don’t eat much candy in general, but I will keep this recipe in rotation to get my hazelnut-chocolate combo fix. Next time though, I will have to incorporate hazelnut flavor into the filling.

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Tip: When I have extra macarons that I want to save, I put them (sandwiched with the filling) in an air-tight container and freeze them. They last for a few weeks and when ready to be served, take them out and allow them to come to room temperature. Otherwise, if you know they will be gone within a few days, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Hazelnut Macarons:
125g almond flour
65g hazelnut flour
375g powdered sugar
155g egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
45g sugar

Y= about 60 sandwiched macarons, about 1 inches in diameter

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse together flours, and powdered sugar for about 30 seconds. Divide in parts if food processor is not large enough to fit everything at once.
2. Sift the mixture into a clean bowl. Set aside.
3. Place egg whites in a mixer bowl. Whisk until slightly foamy on medium speed.
4. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk to incorporate.
5. In a steady stream, add sugar. Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to high.
6. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Peaks should be shiny and smooth. (If using fresh egg whites vs. carton egg whites, the peaks should form fairly quickly).
7. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl.
8. Sift a third of the dries into the egg white mixture. Carefully using a spatula fold the dries into the egg whites. The dries do not have to be fully incorporated at this point.
9. Sift the next third of the dries into the mixture. Continue to fold.
10. Lastly, sift the remaining of the dries and fold.
11. Continue to fold until the dries are incorporated with the egg whites. Be careful not to over-fold, otherwise the batter will be too runny.
12. Line sheet pans with silpat (or parchment paper).
13. Using a piping bag fitted with an Ateco 304 tip, pipe 1 inch circles. Once the sheet pan is full, tap the bottom of the sheet pan to get rid of any air bubbles.
14. Once all the batter has been piped, allow macarons to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
15. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 6.5 to 7 minutes.
16. All to cool completely.
17. Once cooled, fill with chocolate buttercream.

Buttercream:
9 oz Sugar
3/4 C Egg whites
1 lb butter, softened and cut into pieces.
5 oz dark chocolate, melted, cooled

Directions:
1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
2. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water.
3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
7. Slowly add the cooled chocolate to the buttercream. If you like a more chocolatey flavor, add more chocolate. If your chocolate is not cool enough it can melt the buttercream. I always melt my chocolate before I pipe the macarons. That way it will have sufficient time to cool.

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Green Ombre Birthday Cake

30 Mar

March 30th, 2014

It’s been a long, busy, exciting and eventful past year, yet it seemed to have gone and passed quickly! I have a very good reason why I have been missing since my last blog post…I was busy getting married! It was quite a hectic year of planning my wedding, executing it, then going off to my honeymoon. Not to mention, soon after we got back from our honeymoon, we welcomed home our brand new puppy! Yes, many exciting things, which explains why I didn’t have much time to get my hands dirty in the kitchen. In the beginning, I wanted to be a superhero and do it all- plan the wedding, bake, on top of work, then realized I was driving myself insane. Now that things have settled down, I’m getting back in the kitchen!

This comes a little late, but I made an ombre cake for my Dad’s birthday, which was on Sunday, March 16th. It  was also St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so I went for a green ombre cake. The ombre effect was also inspired by my own wedding cake (I did not make my own wedding cake, though it did cross my mind. I did, however, make our own wedding favors- individual macaron boxes filled with two macarons for each guest). The ombre effect is my current favorite cake thing to do because you can basically get away with the perfect imperfections from the blending of the colors.

I prepped the cake and buttercream on separate days and saved the fun assembling for the day before we had to drive to Sacramento. I used a vanilla cake recipe and filled the layers between the cake with buttercream and fresh sliced strawberries. I added some lemon zest to the buttercream to bring in more flavors. The buttercream held up well for our 2 hour drive- no mishaps what-so-ever.

Vanilla Cake: (also works well for cupcakes)
3/4 C Oil
1 oz (1lb) Sugar
3 Eggs
1 1/2 C Cream
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
11 oz AP Flour
11 oz Cake Flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1 1/2 tsp Salt1 1/2C Buttermilk

Directions:
1. Mix oil and sugar in a mixer bowl.
2. Add eggs. Mix.
3. Add cream.
4. Sift together all the dries.
5. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk into the mixture.
6. Divide batter evenly into prepared 6-in cake rounds.

7. Bake at 350 for 15-22 minutes, or until cake springsback.

Buttercream:
9 oz Sugar
3/4 C Egg whites
1 lb butter, softened and cut into pieces.
lemon zest, optional

Directions:
1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
2. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water.
3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
6. When all the butter has been added, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape down sides if necessary. Optional: add a few drops of vanilla extract, lemon zest, or whatever preferred flavors.
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Inspired by our wedding cake

Birthday Cakes

6 May

May 6th, 2013

Back in March I was asked to make 3 different birthday cakes, which all happen to be on the same weekend! It sounds stressful, but I didn’t hesitate because they were for three adorable kids. With a little planning ahead of time, I finished the cakes on time and they turned out great.  The kids loved them and the parents were happy! Take a look:

Cake #1: A Train-Themed Cake for Landon
This was a 9-inch chocolate cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered with fondant.

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Cake #2: A Girly Cake for Violet
This was a 6-inch vanilla sponge cake, filled with lemon mousse. The exterior was covered with buttercream rosettes.

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To give the cake more texture, I added edible sugar pearls at the center of each rosette.

Cake #3: A Despicable-Me Cake for Gavin
This was a 6-in chocolate cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered with fondant. Surprisingly, I have never seen Despicable Me, but when I was doing my research on the Minions, it looks like a very adorable movie. Will have to add it to my movie list.

DSC_0405These Minions were carefully molded with fondant…lots of details involved

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Dinosaur Themed Birthday Cake

13 Feb

February 13th, 2013

This past weekend I made a birthday cake for someone very special. It was my fiance’s birthday and I decided to make him a cake. The only requirements given to me were the cake had to be vanilla and it had to have dinosaurs. So with that, I created a four-layer vanilla sponge cake with alternating layers of strawberry buttercream. The entire cake was then covered with fondant and adorned with two dinosaur cake toppers, which I molded.

It was my first time using this cake recipe and I’m happy to say that I’m a fan. It’s a milk sponge cake and it remained quite moist.  Needless to say, the 6-inch by 5-inch cake was more than enough for seven people and the birthday boy was happy!

Milk Sponge Cake

6 1/2 oz AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C unsalted butter

1/2 C milk (2% or whole)

10 1/2 oz sugar

3 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Buttercream

8 oz egg whites

12 oz granulated sugar

1 pound 8 oz butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

strawberry puree

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Butter 6-inch cake pan and lightly dust with flour
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. Heat milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. Over a double boiler, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla until temperature reaches 110F.
  5. Transfer to a mixer bowl and whisk until light, fluffy and cooled.
  6. Sift half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold using a spatula.
  7. Sift in remaining dry ingredients and fold.
  8. Carefully pour the cooled milk and butter mixture around the batter and fold to mix.
  9. Divide batter into two 6-inch cake pans, bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

For the buttercream:

  1. Heath egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until temperature reaches 140F.
  2. Transfer mixture to a mixer bowl and whisk until cooled.
  3. Add softened butter in chunks.
  4. Add vanilla extract.
  5. Add strawberry puree to taste. (I processed frozen strawberries and strained to get the liquid).

Layers

Alternating layers of cake and buttercream.

Happy Birthday!

Dinosaur cake toppers

HermanCross Section of Cake

Cross section of the cake

Sliced

Photo credit: Cindy T.

Macarons for Halloween and the San Francisco Giants

30 Oct

October 30th, 2012
In celebration of two things- Halloween and the San Francisco Giants winning the 2012 World Series, I made these fun, orange macarons. Tomorrow is the World Series Victory Parade in San Francisco, and for those who are going to watch it, be safe! And for those going out for Halloween, have fun!

Macarons:

115 g almond flour (Trader Joe’s)

200g powdered sugar

90g egg whites

30g powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together. Discard any lumps.

2. In a mixer, whisk egg whites. Once the whites become foamy, stream in 30g of powdered sugar a little at a time. Whisk on high-speed to a stiff peak and until whites are dried out. It should form a stiff ball of meringue.

3. Add dries to the meringue. With a spatula, quickly mix to incorporate the dries and the meringue.

4. Start to fold the mixture to deflate the batter. Be careful not to over fold; otherwise the batter becomes too runny.

5. Transfer batter to a piping bag with a fitted tip.

6. Pipe 1-inch rounds onto silpat-lined sheet pan.

7. Let rest for at least one hour before baking. Bake at 300F for 10-12 minutes. Macarons are done when they come off the silpat without sticking.

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