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This article was taken from our June 2019 Issue

Garden Cupcakes

Enjoy these gorgeous easy-to-make cupcakes all year long!

 

Recipe from Icing on the Cake, Tessa Huff, Abrams, Photography by Tessa Huff

Ingredients

  • FOR THE SOUR CREAM VANILLA CUPCAKES:
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 100g cake flour
  • 95g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg whites
  • FOR THE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM:
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 265g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • FOR THE DECORATION:
  • Gel food colouring
  • Sugar pearls

Method

FOR THE SOUR CREAM VANILLA CUPCAKES:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix together the milk and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla. Add the egg whites one at a time mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches. Alternate with the milk mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the flour mixture are combined.

Using a disher or mechanical ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners about two thirds full. Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove from their pans and allow to completely cool on a wire rack before frosting.

FOR THE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM:

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk by hand to combine. In a medium saucepan, bring an 1-2” (2.5-5cm) of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the mixer bowl on top to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the egg mixture, whisking intermittently, until it reaches 160°F (70°C) on a candy thermometer.

Carefully affix the mixer bowl to the stand mixer (it may be hot) and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes until the mixture holds medium-stiff peaks and the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the vanilla. Add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3-5 minutes.

FOR THE DECORATION:

Rose Cupcake

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with about 255g of the buttercream. Pipe a cone in the centre of the cupcake (the cone should be a little less than 1” (2.5cm) in diameter). Fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton 104) with buttercream. Holding the piping bag at a 45-degree angle, leaning in towards the cone with the narrowed side of the tip facing up, pipe an inner petal that wraps around the tip of the cone to create the centre bud. For the inner row, pipe three petals equally spaced and slightly overlapping around the centre bud. Keeping the piping bag at a 45-degree angle, leaning in towards the bud with the narrowed side of the tip facing up, pipe arcs starting at the base then up and partially over the centre bud. Release the pressure on the bag after each petal before piping the next. For the middle row, pipe five petals around the cupcake. Keep the piping bag slightly leaning away from the centre of the cupcake with the narrowed side of the tip always facing up. For the outer petals, pipe seven or eight petals around the cupcake. Keep the piping bag at a 45-degree angle leaning away from the centre of the cupcake. Continue to pipe arcs of buttercream to create the petal shapes.

Peony Cupcake

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with about 255g of the buttercream. Pipe a flat disc shape about 1” (2.5cm) in diameter in the centre of the cupcake. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large curved petal tip (Wilton 116) with buttercream. Keeping the narrowed side of the tip facing the centre of the cupcake, pipe four fairly flat overlapping strips over the centre. Release the pressure on the bag after each strip before piping the next. Follow the instructions for the rose cupcake to create three rows of four, five and six petals. The petals should be large and ruffled compared to the rose.

Dahlia Cupcake

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with about 255g of buttercream. Pipe a cone shape in the centre of the cupcake. The cone should be a little less than 1” (2.5cm) in diameter. Fill a piping bag fitted with a curved petal tip (Wilton 81) with buttercream. Holding the piping bag perpendicular to the top of the cupcake, pipe interlocking petals on the top of the cone. Applying a small amount of pressure to the piping bag, gently pull straight up for each petal and taper off the pressure on the bag as you go. Release the pressure on the bag after each petal before piping the next. Continue piping interlocking petals until the centre of the cone is covered in five or six petals. Continue piping concentric circles of petals around the centre. As the petals move farther away from the centre, gradually angle the piping bag away from the centre. The outermost petals should be taller and may flare out around the edges. As the petals get taller, they have more of a tendency to flip or curl over especially if the buttercream becomes too warm. The petals tend to support one another so keep piping until the cupcake is completely full.

English Rose Cupcake

Fill a piping bag fitted with a small petal tip (Wilton 103) with buttercream. Angle the piping bag out so it is nearly parallel with the top of the cupcake with the narrowed side of the tip facing up. Starting in the centre, pipe five ribbon loops evenly around the centre. Pipe a second row of loops directly around the first set and repeat until you have three layers filling the centre. For the outer petals, pipe a row of five long petals around the cupcake. Keep the opening of the petal tip nearly perpendicular to the top of the cupcake narrowed side facing up. Continue to pipe petals around the cupcake until the top is completely covered. Unlike the arced petals of the rose cupcake, these should be relatively straight. For the outermost row, angle the piping bag slightly away from the centre to create a flared edge.

Yellow Blossom Cupcake

Fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton 104) with buttercream. Keeping the piping bag at a 45-degree angle away from the centre of the cupcake, with the narrowed side of the piping tip facing away from the centre of the cupcake, begin to pipe petals. Starting a little less than 1” (2.5cm) from the edge of the cupcake, gradually apply pressure to the piping bag while moving out from the centre and back in tapering off the pressure as you return to the centre. Continue to pipe petals around the outer edge. Repeat to make a second row slightly overlapping the first and angled in towards the centre. Pipe a few centre petals as needed until the top of the cupcake is completely covered. Sprinkle the centre with sugar pearls.

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