So my darling baby girl has officially turned one year old today! I mentioned awhile ago that my plan was to bake her cake myself, this turned in to the idea of cupcakes. I went with the cupcakes, and I must say they were a hit! They were absolutely delicious and very fresh and spring-like. Though her family gathering was a bit ago, thanks to the long weekend, I wanted to save her special cupcakes for today. I chose to make chocolate bumblebees instead of butterflies, because I call her lil Lizziebee most of the time. I don’t know where that started, but its caught on with me to make it a most likely permanent nickname. I digress now though, onward to the cupcakes! I made Lemon-Poppy Seed cupcakes, the recipe for which I got out of my precious “Hello, Cupcake!”. This book has not steered me wrong yet!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
Preheat your oven to 350, and paper line your muffin tin.
Start by whisking together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and then reduce the speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture, and the milk, in batches. Beat until just blended, then stir in the lemon peel.
Bake this 15 – 20 minutes, or as the rule of cake baking goes, until a toothpick inserted in to the middle comes out clean.
When these are nice and cooled down, you can start with the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream!
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup butter, cut in to 16 smaller cubes
- 1/3 cup strawberry jam of your preference
This is a little tricky. I used a pot too big the first time and dropped by bowl in scalding my arm. But, in a Stainless steel or glass bowl (do not use plastic!) whisk the egg whites with the sugar over a pot (or saucepan) of simmering water until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mix is warm to the touch.
Put the bowl back on to your electric mixer. I used a vintage stand mixer my mother in law loned me. I call it vintage because it is from the 70’s, and it shows. With the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture until you get firm, stiff peaks and its cooled down, probably around 6 minutes. With the whisking going at a med-low, add the salt and the butter one cube at a time beating well between. If the mixture ends up too runny, just keep beating it until its right. Then, gently fold in the strawberry jam.
Molded Chocolate Bumblebees
- Dark chocolate molding wafers
- Yellow molding wafers
This is what you do for virtually any hand made chocolate decoration. Draw your design on a piece of paper. I used a permanent marker so it would be very dominant. Put the design sheet in a cookie sheet and cover with wax paper.
Melt your chocolate in top opened zip lock bags, 30 seconds at a time. After each 30 seconds, massage the chocolate to help it melt. Its important to take it slow when melting chocolate because it burns quickly, and burnt chocolate is not very tasty.
Once your chocolate is melted cut a tiny piece of the tip off a corner of the zip lock and then seal the top making sure you get as much air out as possible.
Then, just trace your design carefully. Work as quick as possible, you don’t want the chocolate to solidify in the baggie. When you’re done all your piping put it in the fridge for atleast 10 minutes. The chance of the pieces breaking depends solely on how well you chilled it, and how carefully you peel it off the wax paper. So take it slow.