Archive for the ‘frosting’ Category

This was my little girls birthday cake. My “little” baby is now 6 years old and all I can think is that they were the fastest six years of my life. I guess I should purge all of the baby clothes that are in  boxes down in the basement. I want to, I just can’t. We only wanted one child and I’m perfectly okay with that , besides, it’s too late for that now, but seriously, these past six years have been so much fun. I am a stay at home mom and way proud of it.  Every day, at some point, is a fun play date. It could be headband making (which we just finished doing) or a dance party in the living room. Sometimes it’s a fashion show or rock painting. Not that it’s all pretty, there are plenty of times when we just butt heads; a little girl can be very opinionated and downright defiant. But I am only going to discuss the good times today. Like her birthday party. Like how we had 6 six-year-old girls over for a pajama/pizza/Barbie movie party (and survived). We decided to do the home party this year since it’s too darn expensive to rent out places to go and I feel like I can’t keep up with the expectations. Gosh, when I was a kid I think I had one birthday party. Every other year it was just my parents and sisters around the kitchen table singing Happy Birthday around a small, homemade cake after dinner. Nowadays, every kid has to have a party every year. Well, from now on, it’s at the house with just a few friends. So there (I’ll be interested to see if I keep my promise over the next few years). Bake On!

This delicious cake was made using fruit puree. I wasn’t so interested in just breaking out the food coloring (not that I’m against it), but I wanted the cake to have flavor, which food coloring does not have. Only the bottom two layers have a drop of pink color added to make them pop a little. All the fruit that has been so lovingly frozen in the freezer came in very handy for this. Three fruits were the base: strawberry, raspberry and cherries.  Each fruit puree was made separately and only took about 10 minutes. Take about 2 cups frozen of your berry choice and bring to a boil on the stove with a splash of water. Cook for about 2 minutes and then whirl in a mini processor or blender until smooth. Pass through a five sieve to get out any seeds or in the case of the cherries, skin. Place the fruit puree in separate containers and cool completely.  Since raspberry was my middle color I needed more fruit so I cooked up 3 cups. Read on… Now that there are three base colors it’s time to combine them to make some more shades of pink. Take 3 tablespoons of the strawberry and mix it with 3 tablespoons of raspberry in a separate bowl, then take three tablespoons of raspberry puree and mix it with 3 tablespoons of cherry puree (again, in a separate bowl).  You now have 5 shades of pink.

the top layer is plain white cake
strawberry: shade# 1
strawberry/raspberry: shade# 2
raspberry: shade #3
raspberry/cherry: shade#4
cherry: shade #5

Now on to the cake… You will need 5 bowls besides your mixing bowl  so you can add the fruit puree’s.This is made with a 6 inch cake pan. I have two so I can bake 2 layers at a time, but if you only have one that is fine. It will just take longer to get all the layers baked.

 White Cake Base

3 cups (12 oz /247.5 g) Cake Flour
1 2/3 cups (11 3/4oz/333 g) sugar; superfine sugar is best
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg
1 cup (8 oz/227 g) full-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare a 6 inch cake pan (s) by lightly spraying with vegetable oil (such a PAM) and lining with a round piece of parchment paper.

Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste,that’s okay.Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition . Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream  with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Measure out six ounces of plain batter into a prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Measure out 6 ounces (3/4 cup)  five more times into your separate bowls. Add 6 tablespoons of each of your various fruit purees to each six oz bowl of white cake batter; you  now have  five various shades of pink batter. At this time if you feel you would like any of them darker in color add a touch of food color.

Okay, if you are lucky enough to own more than one six-inch cake pan, than you can bake two (or more) layers at a time. If not, wait until the first layer is done, let it cool for 5 minutes and then flip it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Turn the hot cake pan upside down and run under cold water for a few seconds to quickly cool down the pan. Wipe out the inside of the pan, regrease and paper.  Repeat until all six layers are done.

This cake was frosted with swiss meringue buttercream with 1/4 cup leftover mixed puree added to it. Each layer was topped with a thin layer of buttercream then  I piped a border “dam” around the outer edge to seal in the contents. Then I spread about 2 tablespoons low sugar raspberry jam (I used Presidents Choice Blue Line from Superstore) inside the dam . Top with another layer and repeat until all the layers are done.

Even though this cake is small, it is very tall, so I inserted a wooden skewer ,cut to size, right down the middle of the cake to keep the layers from shifting. You can also use a straw. Place in the fridge for one hour to set up.

Coat the cake with a crumb coat, place back in the fridge for 1-2 hours, then finish off with a final coat of buttercream.

For the ice cream cone top:

After baking my six layers, I still had a small amount of batter which I baked, cooled, and crumbled up. It was then mixed with a little bit of buttercream and made into a paste.  This is what everyone commonly knows as a cake pop, only this was a giant cake pop. I rolled the mixture into a ball (make sure your hands are impeccably clean!!) the size of a scoop of ice cream and inserted into a sugar cone. Be sure to flatten out the bottom so it can sit evenly on the cake. Place in the fridge to get cold.

Chocolate Ganache

6 oz dark chocolate
6 oz heavy whipping cream

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil on the stove top and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for 3 minutes then whisk until it is creamy. Set aside at room temperature to set up while the cake is chilling in the fridge.

Later on….

Take the cake and ice cream cone cake pop out of the fridge. Pour about half of the ganache onto the top of the cake, and using a small offset spatula, spread it around the entire top letting it drip down the sides. Now take the cake pop cone and dip the “ice cream” part into the balance of the ganache, coating all sides. Set it down onto the top  of the cake; the ganache is still wet so it will meld into each other. Sprinkle with confetti sprinkles if desired. You can either keep it out of the fridge at this point if you are serving it the same day or else placed the entire cake back in the fridge for up to two days.

The white cake recipe is adapted from this amazing recipe. I adjusted it based upon adding the fruit puree. Use the original recipe if you just want to bake a great white cake.


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It was my better half’s birthday last  week, but being a weeknight, work night and school night, all we did was go out and enjoy a nice Indian meal. I don’t know if I mentioned anything about our monthly supper get together, but it fell on this past Sunday. We meet the 2nd sunday of the month for a dinner at my house with our friends Donna and Michael to ensure that we get to see each other no matter how busy the rest of the month is. Since I love to cook so much, this is really fun for me and our friends seem to enjoy it as well. Maybe it’s all the wine?… the menu this month was an arugula salad with shaved fennel and oranges finished with toasted pistachios and a meyer lemon vinaigrette. We followed this with saffron risotto with scallops and shrimp. To celebrate his birthday  and to have some chocolate for valentine’s day, I made this decadent hazelnut cake. Please note that I made a six-inch cake. I find this the perfect amount for 6-8 people. I love my six-inch cake pans (it’s a good idea to have two of them) and believe they are a worthwhile investment for every baker.An 8 inch cake feeds 10-12 people, which I normally don’t have over at one time, so who ends up eating all that leftover cake? hint.. look at my butt. Anyway, don’t be put off by the length of this recipe. It’s actually just a bunch of steps and can be made in an afternoon. Read through the entire recipe before making this and it will be a breeze for you. I promise. Bake on!

Makes 1 two-layer 6 inch cake


3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 Tablespoon Kahlua or water
5 eggs
1 1/4 Cups  (225g) granulated sugar
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons (250G) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (150G) all-purpose flour
1 Cup (100g) toasted, finely ground hazelnuts (or hazelnut meal if you can get it)
1/4 C (25g) Dutch cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 Cup (80g) sour cream

Chocolate Ganache:

1 Cup (8 oz/250ml) heavy whipping cream
10 ounces (1 1/2 Cup, 300 G) Dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Frangelico or Kahlua

Simple Syrup:

1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp pure vanilla or 1 tablespoon Kalhua

Preheat your oven to 325F

Line the bottoms of two 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil (such as PAM).

Mix the coffee powder and Kahlua into a small bowl and mix well. Set Aside. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder;set aside.

Place the butter and 1 Cup sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) and beat until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, using a hand-held mixer, whip the eggs and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until pale, about 4 minutes.

Pour the eggs into the butter and add the flour mixture, the ground hazelnuts, the coffee mixture and the sour cream and beat until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and smooth out gently with an offset spatula. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer or knife tip (check after 50 minutes depending on your oven)

While the cake is baking, prepare the ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate into a medium-sized glass bowl. Heat the cream (either on the stove or in the microwave) until very hot, but not boiling. Pour over the chocolate and let it sit for 3 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and creamy (it will look curdled for a moment but just keep whisking). Stir in the Frangelico.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool, on the counter, until it is room temperature. Cooling it on the counter gives it time to set up properly. By the time the cake is out of the oven and cool your ganache will be ready to use.

Okay, now that your cake is in the oven and your ganache is made, let’s move onto the simple syrup. Are you ready to hear how hard it is to make? Well, here goes:

Place the equal amounts of sugar and water (1/2 cup each) into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let cool.

Optional: stir in the seeds of one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whew!!! Aren’t you glad that part of the recipe is over? 🙂 Now seriously, the reason for a simple syrup is just to ensure a moist cake. Sometimes cakes made with nut flour can be a little dry and I like to brush them with simple syrup before frosting them. I also do this with wedding cakes. This is a good trick if you are making a cake 1 or 2 days before you are serving it and want to keep it moist. It can also impart more flavor. you can add all sorts of flavorings to your simple syrup. If you toss in a few slices of fresh ginger before you bring it to a boil you now have ginger syrup. This is excellent brushed onto gingerbread cake before a cream cheese frosting. You get the idea? Anyway, I love to have simple syrup on hand since it is also very useful when making yummy cocktails! It will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

Back to the cake.

When the cake is done, take them out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan and cooling completely. (Now would be a good time to make yourself a yummy cocktail using a splash of the simple syrup. I love ginger syrup with Grey Goose Pear vodka and a bit of club soda…)

After the cakes are cooled, trim the tops of each so they are level. A long serrated bread knife works well for this. Take the bit that you just cut off, place onto a baking sheet, and pop back into the oven at 200F for 10 minutes to toast them up a bit. Place into a mini processor and whirl for a few seconds to make crumbs (or just use your clean hands).Set aside.

Take one cake and place it on a cake stand. Brush the top with simple syrup (you just want a thin layer- you are not trying to drown it!). Place about 1/2 cup of the ganache in the middle and using an offset spatula, spread evenly onto the top of the cake. Repeat with the second layer of cake, except don’t frost the top yet.Frost the sides of the cake leaving yourself some ganache to frost the top.

Place the reserved cake crumbs onto a large plate. Pick up the cake, and holding it on the unfrosted top and bottom with your fingertips, roll the sides in the cake crumbs to evenly coat it all around. Carefully place back on the cake stand. Frost the top with the last of the ganache and sprinkle with the balance of the cake crumbs.

Stand back and pat yourself on the back. Enjoy with friends!

Adapted from Donna Hay issue 59

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It was my husbands best friends birthday this past Saturday. He moved to BC last year, but travels for business quite frequently and luckily stays with us at our house every 6 weeks or so. My hubby is very happy when he has his bud to play with. Oh, and the weather here- wow- you would think it was still the middle of summer. They got to play golf together, which for them is like little girls getting to play Barbie’s. It also happened to be his birthday.  While he said he wanted to just lay low, I wanted to make a special birthday dinner. It started out with just us and morphed overnight into 7 people.

sweet corn ravioli

I saw a recipe for sweet corn ravioli on Lisa’s blog parsley, sage , dessert, and line drives that I kept meaning to try, and this was the perfect occasion. I added some saffron to my pasta dough, and instead of cherry tomatoes to finish, I slow roasted some plum tomatoes and then rehydrated them with water and balsamic vinegar then whirled it up in the mini processor. It was really super and I highly recommend you going over to her sight and getting the recipe.

Moving on the dessert…  Last month I was looking at another great site (I am always inspired by other people and their creativity), Barbara Bakes, and she posted the Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate” chocolate cake. I thought “really??”. I’m not such a big fan of Hershey’s, but Barb raved about it so it went on the ever-growing “to bake” list. When I realized I would be needing a birthday cake (and a celebration cake for my 100th post!!!!), I thought of this one. The one big change I made was that I didn’t use Hershey’s cocoa (sorry) …and adjusted a few other things… It is super easy to put together and reminded me very much of my favorite blackout cake. Looking at it I thought it could use a little color such as raspberries on top but one of our guests was allergic to fruit so I left it as an elegant black and white cake.
For the center  I chose a cream cheese cake filling and finally wrapped the whole thing in chocolate.
The cake is so moist it would be great served on its own.The cream cheese filling was light and not too sweet and played off nicely with the hard chocolate shell.
One word.

“Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 Cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup cocoa powder (I use 1/4 C black cocoa and 1/2 c Rodelle dutch dark cocoa)
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 Cup flavorless oil (such as canola)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 Cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line three 6 inch cake pans (which is what I did) or two 9 inch round pans with parchment paper.

Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and espresso powder; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or by hand for 4 minutes. Carefully stir in the boiling water (by hand) and mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be quite thin. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. cool for 15 minutes before removing from the cake pans. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Cream Cheesecake Filling

4 egg yolks
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup whole milk
2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin or 7 gelatin leaves
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 Cup small curd cottage cheese
2 cups heavy cream (32-36%)

Place the sugar, milk, vanilla bean seeds, and pods in heavy medium-sized pot. Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and it is steaming. Meanwhile, place the 4 egg yolks in a bowl and whisk to combine. When the milk is hot, pour some into the yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the egg yolks. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot and stir continuously over a low for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil or you will end up with scrambled eggs! Take out the vanilla bean pods (you can rinse these off, dry them, then add to your sugar bowl). Strain through a fine sieve. Set aside for the moment.

Add the powdered gelatin to 1/4 C warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Place the custard back over low heat, add the gelatin, stirring briskly, until all of the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Beat the cream cheese and cottage cheese until very smooth. Gradually add the warm gelatin/custard mixture, beating constantly, until smooth and creamy. Let cool to room temperature.

Beat the heavy cream until firm, Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture with wire wisk.

Line the inside of a springform pan with parchment paper or acetate. Place one layer of cake in the bottom of the pan. Pour a layer of the cheese mixture over top, about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat two more times. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set up.

Remove the  sides of the pan and slip out the cake. Peel off the parchment paper/acetate. Cut a separate piece of parchment/acetate, measuring the diameter and the height (I like to go 1/2 inch higher). Lay this down over a larger piece of paper or foil. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and carefully spread over the measured piece of paper. It’s okay if some goes over the edges. Pick up one corner and carefully pick up the whole measured piece and wrap it around the cake, pressing lightly to adhere. immediately place in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

When ready to serve, gently peel off the parchment paper/acetate to reveal a beautiful shiny coat of chocolate! Enjoy.

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Okay, something is just not right. I mean, it’s April 16th, and its SNOWING!! Wait…. I mean, snowing again! We just got 10 inches of snow 2 days ago and now it is coming down again. Am I supposed to find some sort of comfort in the fact that it’s not supposed to really accumulate? Wait again, my hubby is now telling me that we are going to get another 5 to 10 inches. I mean, really! We had the little bicycle and the scooter out last week when it was 15C, only to have to put them back into the shed. Aahh, springtime in the rockies…. So, to help move spring along a little I am making lemon  poppy-seed cupcakes today. Well, I also had a little inspiration for the theme. Today is my friend Daisy’s birthday. She was one of  my very best friend’s during my formative years. At the tender age of 13 we attended my first concert, Neil Young (the Rust Never Sleeps Tour) at Nassau Coliseum together. That surely was a night to remember on many levels.Many games of SPIT, handball, partying, summer singing class, music theory, the list goes on and on. So, here is to you to you, my dear old friend. Happy Birthday. I’m in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo, Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town


7  Tablespoons (90 g) unsalted butter, room temp
3 oz  (90 g) cream cheese, room temp
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
2/3 C (150 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 1/4 C (125 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Line a 12 cup  muffin tin with paper cases.

Cream the butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes then add the sugar and zest; continue to beat until light and fluffy.Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the Lemon juice and sout cream.Sift the dry ingredients together then add to the bowl, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Divide among the paper cases and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.


This fluffy marshmallow frosting is best eaten within a few hours after being made. Be generous when frosting and pile it high like a fluffy cloud.

1 1/2 C granulated frosting
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Blend the sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cook this mixture over boiling water, beating constantly with a hand-held beater on high-speed, for about 7 minutes, or until the frosting stands up in stiff peaks (It took me 9 minutes today). Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Immediately spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.

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A lesson in Buttercream

There is much debate on buttercream. Italian, Swiss,French or American? Let me start by explaining the differences between them. Italian meringue buttercream is made with a cooked sugar syrup that is poured into meringue then beaten with butter. Swiss meringue is made with egg whites and sugar cooked over a double boiler then whipped into a meringue, then beaten with butter. French is made with egg yolks, and American is the confectioners sugar, milk and butter mixture that everyone seems to be the most familiar with. As far as I’m concerned, the American version is only good for a cupcake (if even that), as it is sooo sweet. This is usually the one that little kids love. There is also decorators buttercream, which is swiss meringue based but has equal amounts shortening to butter – so if you like to eat Crisco out the can this ones for you. The cakes in the bakery dept. at the supermarket use this version- I hate it, my husband loves it. I am giving instructions for both Italian and Swiss meringue buttercream.  The Swiss is easier to make than the Italian, but I feel the Italian is more stable in warmer weather. Neither one is good in the hot, hazy days of summer – though I did a wedding cake filled and crumbcoated with IMB and covered in with fondant and it was just fine after 4 hours in 90 F degree heat. If you make it in really a really hot climate just keep your cake  in the air conditioning until shortly before serving.

Both of these recipes can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 2 months. Because of the high butter content, it becomes really firm when chilled. To reconstitute your cold buttercream take in out of the fridge (or the freezer) and leave it out on the counter overnight to bring it back to room temperature. Using the balloon whisk on your mixer, beat at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy again. This may take as long as 5 minutes.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
Read the entire recipe before making it. It will seem overwhelming the first time you make this but after that it is a breeze and I rarely even use a candy thermometer anymore for it. This is from The Wedding Cake Book, one of my favorites!
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 C plus 1/3 c sugar
8 large egg whites, at room temp
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 lbs (6 sticks)UNSALTED butter, at room temperature

Place the water and 1 1/4 C sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to moisten all of the sugar but do not stir again during the boiling since this causes sugar crystals to form. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl, and with the balloon whisk attachment beat the whites on low until frothy. Add the cream of Tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. When soft peaks form, gradually add the remaining 1/3 c of sugar. Continue beating until shiny, stiff, but not dry, peaks form.
Raise the heat under the sugar syrup and bring it to a rapid boil. It must cook for at least 5 minutes to reach the desired temperature, between 248 and 250 F. Try to have the syrup ready at the same time as the meringue. If the meringue is done first, turn the mixer down to low so that the whites move continuously, but slowly. If the syrup is done first, add a small quantity of hot water (not cold) to lower the temperature and continue cooking until the meringue catches up.

When the syrup is ready, turn off the mixer briefly and quickly pour about 1/2 c syrup into the meringue. immediately turn the mixer on to high-speed and continue to pour the syrup in a steady stream. Be careful not to let the syrup get onto the beaters or it will spray  off and not only make a mess but make crystalized sugar strands mix into your meringue. Alternatively, you can turn off the mixer and add more syrup. Do no let the meringue sie motionless for more than a few seconds.

Whip the meringue until it cool, about 15 minutes. Feel the bottom of the bowl to check the temperature. When the bowl is no longer warm, stop the mixer and check the temp. with your fingertip to make sure it is cool. If you start adding the butter when it is too warm you will just melt the butter and ruin it. With the mixer on medium-low add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time. The butter will immediately become incorporated. Continue whipping the mixture while slowly adding the butter. Do not panic if it looks like cottage cheese- just keep on mixing and it will magically smooth out. Add flavoring at this point, making sure to beat well to fully incorporate,such  as:

Vanilla – 1 tsp for every 2 cups of buttercream
Coffee/espresso – dissolve 1 tbsp instant coffee in 2 teaspoons hot water or kalua. Add to 2 cups buttercream
Coconut – 2 tbsp cream of coconut to every 2 cups buttercream
Chocolate – add 4 ounces melted, cooled chocolate to 2 cups buttercream
Raspberry or Lemon – add 1/3 cup raspberry puree or lemon curd to 2 cups buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ lbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp Vanilla

Place  egg whites and sugar in a bowl, over a pan of simmering water.Whisk gently by hand until egg whites are very warm to touch, or 140  F degrees on a thermometer.Pour hot egg whites into a large mixing bowl and with the balloon whisk attachment on, whip on medium high until stiff peaks form and the meringue cools to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Use the same techniques as above to test the temperature.Meanwhile, cut upthe  butter into small pieces while the meringue is beating.Remove the whip from the mixer and change to a paddle.Add half of the butter to the meringue  mixture and mix on low to medium until combined.Add the other half of the butter and mix on low to medium until combined. Once again, do not panic if it looks like curdled cottage cheese-continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides, add vanilla or other flavorings and beat until combined.

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