Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedding Cake Part 2 - Frostings

If you've been paying attention, you already know that I am working on practice wedding cakes right now.  I'm making my own cake, and have 3 recipes that I'm testing out.  For this Mocha Wedding Cake, we've already got our cakes baked.  Now we need to move on to the frosting.  I used this buttercream recipe from the queen herself, Martha.

I'm going to be honest with you, this was not my favorite frosting to make.  I was nervous going in to it because Italian Buttercreams can be kind of finicky to make.  There are a lot of steps, a lot of waiting, and a lot of dishes to wash.  The end result is an incredibly smooth, silky, spectacular buttercream.  I urge you to give it a shot, just plan ahead.  Don't be like me and do it when you're not feeling so well and only have 1 hour of time to work with.  Due to my lack of time I did not make the chocolate ganache also listed as one of the fillings in the cake.  I think this would have been amazing, but I felt that it probably wouldn't be the deal breaker for me if I liked the cake or not.  If the cake and frosting aren't good, it would take an awful lot of chocolate ganache to make up for it.  I need the whole cake to be good.  I'll let you know how that decision pans out later.

For now, buttercream.  I should note, I made this full recipe because I am using it on another cake that I'm making later this week.  You be the judge of this decision later on in the post.

First, separate the eggs.
Easy enough
Next you start to make a custard by mixing the egg yolks with sugar in a mixer.  I would not recommend doing this by hand, unless you're in need of a crazy good arm workout.
They should get pale, thick and fluffy
Now you heat the milk and vanilla on the stove until it boils.  Note- I would double the vanilla if I make this again.  It ended up being a very subtle flavor.
Tip - Look at the edges to see if it's boiling
Then you pour some of it into the custard, and mix until it's combined.  Then everything goes back into the pan and you whisk whisk whisk until it's 185 degrees.
I used a probe thermometer to check the temp
Then you need to strain this mixture to get all of the clumps out.  No matter how good you whisk, you will have some clumps.  Do not skip this step or you'll have lumpy buttercream. Yuck.
Stick this in the fridge and let it cool completely.  In the mean time cream the butter.  Surprisingly, this is where my difficulties started.  I should have known when the recipe said it made 17 cups of frosting that my mixer was maybe just a little too small to handle things.  Still, Daisy pushed through and made some delicious frosting.  I digress, cream your butter.  Lots of butter.
Overflowing buttah
Then add your chilled custard.
Splatter guard necessary
Now you need to do dishes.  I put the custard mixture in a clean bowl, and washed my mixer bowl.  You will need the mixing bowl for the next step.  Heat egg whites and sugar in the mixing bowl over simmering water, whisking continuously.  This is the contraption I came up with.
When the sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes later) hook the bowl back up to your mixer and whisk on high until you have a meringue.
You're looking for stiff peaks here
Then add the custard/buttercream to the meringue.  If your mixer is the same size as mine you will need to add it a little at a time.  Mix until smooth (about 4-5 minutes)
This is your base frosting.  At this point it was getting late so I divided the frosting in two and put it in the fridge overnight.  Today when I was ready to use it I took it out of there fridge and let it come to room temperature.  At this point I took out 2 cups of the base and put it in a separate bowl.  Then I put the softened buttercream base back into the mixer and whipped it for 2-3 minutes until it was nice and fluffy again.  Then I took it out, and put the 2 reserved cups in with 1/4 c. of room temperature coffee and mixed that for 2-3 minutes.  This is the coffee buttercream.  Martha tells you to use coffee extract, but I didn't have any, so this is what I did.  

Stay tuned to part 3 where I assemble the cake!

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What's Annie Making?: Wedding Cake Part 2 - Frostings

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Wedding Cake Part 2 - Frostings