To celebrate the Indianapolis Colts’ playing in the Super Bowl yesterday, I wanted to make a very white cake that could either be tinted blue beautifully, or combined with blue frosting or filling to make the Colts’ team colors of blue and white. I decided on a classic white cake, with a touch of almond and punched it up a little with raspberry filling and white chocolate frosting (which also turned out to be a beautiful, clean white).
My husband is the one who dubbed these Bavarian Winter Cupcakes. I think it’s a beautiful name, but also funny because it reminds me of beer! HRH Beermeister, loves beer (obviously, right?). One of his favorite things is to try new, unusual beers, and some of them have some really cool names (some of them have some really weird names too). I’m pretty sure that “Bavarian Winter,” as lovely as it is, is the product of his German heritage and all of those many beer names he encounters!
Enough of that though, let’s get started with those cupcakes (this recipe makes a great cake too)!
The egg whites and milk should be brought out with the butter while it softens so they can come up to room temperature. Room temperature eggs will give you more volume when beaten than a cold egg will (I imagine the milk needs to be warmer simply to keep the eggs from getting cold). A lot of baking recipes call for eggs at room temperature, but there are a lot of times that I don’t realize that, or I forget until too late, but there is an easy fix for that. Place your eggs in a deep glass bowl or measuring cup and sit that down into some warm water. The water will gently warm the eggs in about 10 minutes. If using only egg whites, separate the eggs while they are still cold.
Put the eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract in a one quart measuring cup, or a medium bowl, and whisk to combine; set aside until warmed or use the warm water method to bring them to room temperature.
Now you’ll combine all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand. Basically, you want to beat it until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or big pockets of flour mixture without butter in them. It should take about five minutes. Then you add the wet ingredients in two or three small batches, beating on low in between each batch. At the end, I like to give the bowl a good scrape and then mix for another 20 or 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into prepared muffin or cake pans and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes (20-25 minutes for cake).
While the cupcakes were baking, I experimented with frosting a bit. I really wanted white chocolate frosting, but didn’t have a recipe for it in any of my cookbooks and couldn’t find an appealing one online, so I played around with ingredients myself. I decided to use a combination of two of my frosting recipes and see what I could come up with. I used the mixing methods of a chocolate recipe combined with the basic ingredients of a buttercream recipe, then added white chocolate. I loved it!
I melted the butter in a double boiler then added the white chocolate. If you’re using bar chocolate, be sure to cut it into small pieces to help it melt faster and more evenly. Melting the butter before adding the chocolate helps keep the chocolate from seizing. I have found with recipes that require you to add something to melted chocolate, you always run the risk of ruining the chocolate. Whenever I have a liquid ingredient to add chocolate, such as vanilla, I put it into the double boiler or microwave with the chocolate so that it warms and mixes into it gently. Then you can add anything else you like and the chocolate will be fine.
After the chocolate was melted, I stirred in the milk and vanilla before adding confectioners’ sugar. With most of my frostings, I add about a half of a cup of sugar at a time, until I reach the consistency I want. If the recipe calls for a lot of butter, you have to keep tasting it too. You may reach a consistency you like, but it may still taste too buttery. I wanted a fluffy recipe, so I kept adding sugar until the mixture was white, smooth, and fluffy. This also makes a great glaze.
For the raspberry filling, you can use a homemade raspberry puree, or you can use seedless jam.
That’s all there is to the cupcakes, but I also wanted to include a helpful tip for filling a decorating bag. Sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand in the kitchen. With runnier frostings and fillings, it can get really frustrating to deal with holding the bag, a bowl, and a spoon or spatula. I like to use a tall 16 ounce glass as a helper. It’s sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about spilling, and if you have any unknown holes in you bag, the glass catches leaks:
If you’re using a coupler or tip, get that set up in the bag first. Then you just want to make sure that part is folded up to prevent leaks. Now just fold the top of you bag down four inches or so, sit it inside the glass, opening it up with your and, and your ready to go!
Pour in your frosting or filling (I’m using melted white chocolate tinted blue) and pull the folded part of the bag up before removing the bag from the glass. If you have a coupler or tip in, be sure to keep the bag over the glass to prevent a mess. Another great use for the glass is to hold you bag while not in use:
After removing the bag, twist the end closed to keep the contents from spilling out the back as you use the bag. Now just snip the end, if you’re not using any tips, and you’re ready to fill, decorate, write, or draw! I used this to draw the horseshoes and buttons for my Super Bowl cupcakes.
A really fun decorating idea is to use melted chocolate or candy melts to draw different designs or shapes for your cakes or cupcakes.Â Just draw the shape that you want on to parchment or wax paper and let dry. Once it’s dry, just gently peel it off and flip it over and you will have a smooth, yummy decoration for your sweets! You can even layer colors to get a more complex design. I do this quite a bit for cupcakes, so you’ll see it again, but there is also a great cookbook called The Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen that really explores this technique.
What a super fast, easy way to make personalized, fun decorations! I ended up tinting about half of the cupcakes blue, and they took the color wonderfully! I think these would look gorgeous in any color combination!
Now back to those cupcakes for a second…
Bavarian Winter Cupcakes
Makes 30 cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE FROSTING:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar (less for a glaze)
Raspberry jam, for filling (optional)
To make the cupcakes:Â Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pans with cupcake liners, or grease and flour 2 – 9″ round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with a circle of parchment.
Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract in a one quart measuring cup, or a medium bowl, and whisk together; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about five minutes. Add the egg mixture in two or three small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 20 or 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into prepared muffin or cake pans Â and bake for 12-14 minutes (20-25 minutes for cake). Cupcakes are done when a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.
To make the frosting: Melt the butter in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add the white chocolate and stir constantly until melted.
Remove from heat and stir in milk and vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, beating well between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting gets too firm, add splashes of milk until it is soft enough.
Recipe by Darla