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Monday, June 27, 2011

Banana Cupcakes, Pastry Cream Filling and Chocolate Swiss Meringue Frosting

These little babies are a triple threat.  The cupcakes (from Brown Eyed Baker) are moist, delicious, perfect texture, just the right amount of banana flavor, etc.  They can literally be served stand alone with nothing on top or inside. BUT, I decided to make her Vanilla Pastry Cream to go with them and instead of putting the cream on top of the cupcake I piped it into the cupcake as a filling.  The pastry cream was very easy to make and is perfectly creamy and yummy.
After deciding to use the pastry cream as a filling, I knew I needed a splash of chocolate on top. I made a Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream to go on top.  I modified a recipe I found online into my own concoction and it turned out to THE BEST chocolate frosting I've made to date.  It's light, not to sweet, just the right amount of chocolate flavor and I was so pleased that this time the frosting had a very small amount of air bubbles in it.  Most of my Swiss Meringue frosting ends up with quite a bit of tiny bubbles, but not this recipe.  It's a keeper!  I've posted it below for safe keeping.

These cupcakes, when all put together, are probably some of the best I've made.  Absolutely delicious!  All of DJ's co-workers are in for a real treat tomorrow when I send them their way.  I seriously can't have these things sitting on my counter... I would eat half of them.  In fact, it's taking all the will power I have right now not to go back and eat a second one tonight.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting




4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder, add more for stronger chocolate flavor

Melt 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate in double boiler or microwave and set aside to cool.

Put egg whites, salt and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (160 degrees).

Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on medium high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 8 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment (if using a Bosch mixer stick with the whisk attachments). With mixer on medium-low, add butter one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low; add vanilla extract, melted and cooled chocolate and cocoa powder and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles, scraping down the bowl as needed.
 
Store in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for 2 months.  Bring to room temp and beat with paddle on low until light and fluffy.

Makes enough to generously frost 24 regular sized cupcakes.