Frosting and I aren’t friends. We definitely do not play well together. When you take a look at my most recent attempt, you’ll see what I mean.
But let me back up here.
The Big Sis From Another Miss asked if I would help her bake for her baby boy’s baptism at the end of the month. I’m truly honoured since I love her and her family so much. I’m also worried because the BSFAM is an excellent baker and I don’t want to disappoint her with crapcakes. I need to bring my A game. She asked me to make two dozen vanilla cupcakes and 2 dozen lemon. I don’t have tried and true recipes in either category so it looks like I’m embarking on another quest – this time, for the ultimate cupcake.
The first cupcake I’m trying is Joy the Baker‘s vanilla bean cupcake. Joy is such a phenomenal baker – if she says this is a good cupcake, then it must be a good cupcake. I don’t have to worry about the frosting because the BSFAM is going to make it. However, since I’m not going to eat 2 dozen cupcakes myself, I decided to bring this test batch to our niece’s 5th birthday party (where a whole group of captive party guests can serve as my guinea pigs). Naked cupcakes, while delicious and my own personal preference, look boring, so I decided to use the companion frosting recipe that Joy used for her cupcakes. Click here for both recipes.
Her chocolate buttercream featured flavour heavy hitters like chocolate and Ovaltine, as well as butter and heavy cream as its fatty foundation. I was sold.
The Husband and I were out all day enjoying the start of the long weekend, so I didn’t start baking until about 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Even at that time, our apartment was sweltering hot. We’re finally getting summer weather in Vancouver and the expected temperatures that come along with it. I didn’t mind, although I was sweating like a harpy in hell (or maybe they don’t sweat…choose whatever appropriate analogy you want!).
I didn’t try any cupcakes that night since it was midnight by the time I was done. I ate it the next day and it was delicious! Dense, moist, with a good prominent vanilla flavour. I’m still going to try some other recipes before I decide which one I’m going to use for the baptism. Maybe something a bit lighter and cakier. I’d love suggestions if anyone has any!
As for my foray into frosting, I’m sorry to say I’d put this attempt into the Epic Fail category. Funnily enough, almost every time I make frosting, it turns out terribly. At least this time, I know where I went wrong.
Hmmm…my frosting looks super grainy. And runny. I made it the next morning, the hour before we had to leave to help set up for our niece’s party, so I didn’t have time to test, to re-make, or to refrigerate the frosting. When I piped it onto the cupcakes, it looked eerily similar to something else that is brown, grainy and runny. I don’t think I need to say the word. It starts with a D and ends with an A, and the middle is filled with a burning sensation. You know what I’m talking about.
This is where I went wrong. I didn’t put in the entire amount of icing sugar that the recipe calls for because I hate super sweet frosting. The Ovaltine gets stirred into the whipping cream and I poured it in at the end as directed. Joy says that you don’t need to use the entire Ovaltine/cream mixture – only use enough to reach your desired consistency. I read that and thought, it’s whipping cream, it’ll whip up beautifully with the butter. Dead wrong. It made my frosting too liquidy. The taste was phenomenal but it failed completely in the looks category. Definitely operator error.
I still brought the cupcakes to the party and people ate them, despite the unappetizing appearance. This just makes me determined to conquer frosting instead of having it school my ass!