Wednesday, August 25, 2010

White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (8-16-10)


On August 16th, I made another batch of cupcakes. This time, I used the Elinor Klivan’s recipe for White Christmas Cupcakes. The original recipe includes a white chocolate frosting with white chocolate shavings as garnish. But I just wanted the white cake batter, so there was nothing Christmas-y about my cakes. Instead of the white chocolate frosting, I used Elinor Klivans' basic cream cheese frosting that she uses for a couple different cupcake recipes.

THE RECIPE/S (as found in “The Cupcake Deck” by Elinor Klivans.):

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • ¼ cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • Make the cupcakes:

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

    Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, stir the milk and vanilla and almond extracts together.

    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and lightened in color, about 3 minutes; the mixture will look sugary and form large clumps. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing just until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth. Set aside.

    In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Beat on high speed until the egg whites look shiny and smooth and the beaters form lines in the egg whites. If you stop the mixer and lift up the beaters, the whites should cling to the beaters. Stir about one-third of the beaten egg whites into the reserved batter. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended.

    Fill each paper liner with a scant ⅓ cup of batter, to about ¼ inch thick from the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

    Frosting Ingredients:

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • Directions:

      In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further.

      (The cupcakes must be refrigerated so that the cream cheese won’t go bad)

      I sprinkled powdered sugar and then yellow sprinkles on the top of my cupcakes to add color. This wasn’t so efficient because those toppings didn’t stick as well as I had liked.

      And as for my MISTAKES, they are as follows:

      • Making the cupcakes in the middle of the day when it was hottest outside. The oven heated up the entire house and did not please my family.
      • In pursuit of softening the butter, I put a stick in the microwave. However, what I failed to realize was that the butter was wrapped in tin foil. After the first second, a bright flash shone from behind the microwave door and I heard an ominous ZAP! I flung open the door and the tin foil was on fire. The flame quickly dwindled down on its own, though. So I was thoroughly freaked out… But my parents calmly told me to just take it out and soften it on a plate without the tin foil. I recovered.
      • Being reluctant to get out the electric hand mixer for the egg-whites. I tried to just use a whisker because I thought it was pointless to go through all the hassle of getting out the electric one… but as my sister Amelia pointed out to me, that wasn’t okay.
      • I skipped using almond extract because we didn’t have any.
      • For the frosting, I didn’t soften the butter and cream cheese well enough. When I tried to blend them, the KitchenAid was shaking because they were so hard. In the end, the frosting tasted good, but I wish I had taken the time to make sure there weren’t any little balls of butter in it.
      • I used a Ziploc bag for my frosting squeezer and the opening on my tip was too small. The Ziploc bag method became very messy like last time, and the tip was too small for the thickness of the frosting. I took the tip out and just squirted the frosting on through the hole in the bag. This did not look good, so I ended up just spreading the frosting on instead of making a cool-looking dollop.




      Amelia: They’re good.

      Mother: Mmmm. Good.

      Aubrey: Eh…good. But the cake is tasteless. They’re good, but without the frosting, they’d be disgusting.

      I brought some of the cupcakes to my boyfriend, David’s, house. His parents agreed that the cupcakes are good and enjoyable.

      After David’s first bite, he exclaimed “MMMM! Oh my. So good.” And he ate a second immediately after finishing the first.

      My opinion of the cupcakes was that the cake was very moist and of a good texture. They were so moist that the cupcake liners peeled right off with barely any resistance. (I don’t know if that’s technically a good or bad thing.) But I agree with Aubrey that the cake didn’t have much flavor like the yellow cake did. This may have been due to the fact that I left out the almond extract. Or maybe the cake is meant to be rather bland because the intended white chocolate frosting is very flavorful (I don’t know.)

      The cream cheese frosting was delicious, I must say. I love cream cheese frosting because it doesn’t feel like you’re eating a lump of sugar. It’s the right mix between sweet and savory for a dessert.

      Until next time!

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