Happy November!

This is one of my very favorite months.  Which is saying a lot because November can be cold and gray (and I’m much more of a summer time kind of gal) but there are some great things going on this month!

The first and probably my favorite is Thanksgiving.  I have loved Thanksgiving since I was a kid sneaking away from helping my Mom setting the table to go watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Honestly, I mostly just like the first portion of the parade when all of the Broadway shows perform and of course the Rockettes.  Something else that sticks in my mind from watching the parade as a kid was the cotton commercials that used to play every year.  Do you remember those?  The ones where the kids were rushing around setting the table probably to Sting’s “Fields of Gold” song.

Anyway, November is also my birthday month!  Plus, my nephew Drew and niece Ellen have birthdays in November (all within a couple of days!).  This year was Ellen’s first birthday and our sister Marianne asked to make the cake, smash cake, and cupcakes.  Now I am certainly no cake decorator.  That is for certain!

For the big cake and Ellen’s smash cake (which she was terrified of) I actually used a box mix for the vanilla cake – I like the French Vanilla version.  The special part is that both are three layer cakes and each layer inside is a different shade of pink!  It was another inspiration from Pinterest.

For the filling in the big cake, I used Martha Stewart’s lemon curd.  It tasted great with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream (I did double the recipe) and the French Vanilla Cake.

For the cupcakes, I made Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food cupcakes.  I did make one substitution of Dutch-processed cocoa with Dark Chocolate cocoa.  These were amazing!  Especially with Sweetapolita’s Buttercream Frosting.  Here’s the recipe below:

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

120 ml whipping cream

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

Pinch of salt

Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer on low for about two (2) minutes.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and whip on high for four (4) minutes.  If the consistency is too thick, add a teaspoon of water and whip for 30 more seconds.

I hope you enjoy these recipes I will be busy celebrating birthdays and testing out some new Thanksgiving recipes.

Hallie

November 13, 2011. Desserts, Musings. Leave a comment.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

As I said, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my current obsession.  I first made it for my niece Ellen’s christening cake.  I’m sure many have seen the kind of cake that I made.  The pink ruffled cake that Martha Stewart featured and is all over Pinterest.  You know this one…

The cake is so cute and extremely easy to make with little cake decorating experience.  The best thing that I learned from making this cake was how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  If you’ve never had it before, the buttercream is smooth and not overly sweet, something that I love since I think traditional buttercream can be too sweet at times.

Here I am going to give you the basics for how to make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  It might sound daunting but it’s much easier than it seems.

Here’s the ingredient list:

1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

To begin, cut the softened butter into tablespoon size pieces and set aside.  Then place your mixing bowl with the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler of simmering water.  Whisk continuously until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved or when the mixture reaches 140 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Take the mixing bowl and set it up with the whisk attachment on your electric mixer.  Allow the egg whites to whisk for 10 minutes on high until they are cooled and fluffy.

Reduce the mixer to medium high and add the butter one tablespoon at a time until they are incorporated.  Once all of the butter is incorporated, switch to your paddle attachment and add vanilla and the pinch of salt.  Continue to beat the buttercream on low/medium for another three to five minutes.  The buttercream may change in consistency and look curdled.  This is ok, just keep beating until it is smooth and creamy.

Enjoy!

Hallie

October 27, 2011. Desserts. 1 comment.