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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Neapolitan Cupcakes

My parents just recently got a new cable box with DVR (I think it's kinda like TiVo)For anyone who doesn't know, that's the thing that let's you pause and record TV shows... and fast forward commercials! It's amazing how I ever lived without it! There's a setting that lets you record shows that have a specific keyword in the description. So naturally I set it to record any show with the words "cupcake," "baking," and "cake!" A few days ago I looked at the shows that have been saved so far. I found an episode of a wonderful show I just discovered called "Everyday Baking from Everyday Food." The episode featured three cupcake recipes, one of which I chose to use for these Neapolitan cupcakes. My original proposition for the cupcakes was to make a strawberry/chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream. However, I am not a fan of plain vanilla buttercream, or any flavor of traditional buttercream (butter, confectioners sugar, milk). Instead, I made a chocolate/vanilla cupcake and paired it with the most amazingly silky strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. With the cake and ice cream flavors, it was like a birthday party in my mouth!

ingredients... except one stick of butter that's sitting on the table behind me......aaannnddd the butter is forgotten again! I'm good.delicious dark chocolate batter and even yummier vanilla batterFill half of each cup with chocolate batter... ...and the other half with vanilla batter.They should look like this!Doesn't it look so perfect and tasty??TADA!And because it's so pretty... here's another picture...
You gotta be dying for the recipe by now!!

Cupcake recipe from MarthStewart.com.

MY NOTES: Measure out the ingredients for both batters first. This way you don't have the first batter sitting out for a long time while you make the second one. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder. My cupcakes were done at 19 minutes.

Black-and-White Cupcakes
Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters (directions below); fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each, side by side. Makes 24.

Ingredients
Makes 12
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

For Chocolate Cupcakes
Reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups, and add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk into dry ingredients.


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
Fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each batter, side by side.. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This is my own recipe.

Ingredients
Makes about 4 cups


4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened, cut into tablespoons

1/3 cup strawberry jam

Directions
Put egg whites 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 (about 160 degrees).

Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons 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 strawberry jam and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.

59 comments:

Stef said...

Those look great! I don't even have cable TV. I'm jealous!

cramitinyourface said...

dang, these are HOT!

im def. gonna try these boof

Anonymous said...

Wow that frosting looks beautiful - what is your technique for decorating like that?

-Bex

losslustlove said...

You have some wicked cupcakes featured here. Might try out a few of em :D

irene said...

normally buttercream icing does not have egg whites in the recipe. what does the egg white do? does it make the icing harder, thus easier to shape?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

irene, the egg whites in the recipe are whipped into a meringue, making the frosting a lot less dense than traditional buttercream frosting (butter, confectioners sugar, milk).

bex, i use a large closed star decorating tip and do a traditional swirl. check cupcakefun.com for more info about decorating techniques :)

everyone else, thanks and i hope you all try this recipe! it's fantastic!

CB said...

I've been meaning to tell you that I love how you put all the ingredients out *before* you start. I have a bad habit of not doing that! haha. Love your blog! :)

Miss Scarlett said...

This is BRILLIANT! Another contender for my Super Bowl party.

~Madeline~ said...

Well, this is the first time I've come across your blog and might I say how fabulous and dangerous it is!!! My cupcake addiction is about to become an issue. Your photos are wonderful and these cupcakes look so good, I can't wait to try them.

Megan said...

These look wonderful and I must try them. I cant wait to try the frosting since my only experience with swiss buttercream wasn't quite right.

Kate said...

These are so gorgeous, I added them to Tastespotting! Yum!

Evelin said...

Yes, they DO look perfect and tasty! Another must-make, I guess! Or at least I'm stealing the technique;)

cakebrain said...

those cupcakes look hot! i've got to make some soon!

Cakespy said...

Oh, I love these! So cute but delicious looking too!

Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna lie I totally wish I was BFF's with you! haha...I have this insane obsession with cupcakes that no one else I know seems to share. I love all of your cupcake adventures :D

I'm gonna check out that website - thanks!!

-bex

culinography said...

These are SO adorable!

Katie B. said...

Whoa - what a fabulous idea! Totally a little party in each bite!!

trouble said...

I certainly do have a thing for cupcakes ;)

And I can tell you now, I won't be making these this week but they are certainly going to be done at some point :) Although I may try your swiss meringue frosting recipe this week, I'll let you know how it comes out if I do :)

Carla said...

I love this idea and they are really cute!

Gigi said...

I saw these on PBS last weekend. I have the recipe printed out and ready to go this weekend for a birthday party. Yours look fantastic! I love the color of the frosting!

Mary said...

These cupcakes are just beautiful! I love the side by side flavors.

Grommie said...

Thanks fo dropping by my page.

This buttercream recipe sounds amazingly easy. I may have to give it a try.

Half Baked said...

Cool cupcakes! I've got to try these:)

danamccauley said...

The two tone batter is such a good idea and so easy to execute. Why didn't I think of that idea?

I guess what I really need help with is not so much how to eat a cupcake but how not to eat cupcakes.


BTW, eggwhites help to give the buttercream body. It fell out of fashion due to health issues but if you use pasterurized whites (they come in cartons at the store), there's no danger.

Lesley said...

Wow, they look fantastic, I think I'm going to have to give them a whirl.

Linda said...

I had to try this! It came out amazing. This was a winner around the office.

Thanks for posting this!

Emma said...

Im baking them right NOW!!
I added red food gel to the vanilla part (as valentines day is coming up) and am going to do a coconut buttercream frosting! mmmm can't hardly wait!

Anonymous said...

Since the egg white are cooked over the double boiler I would guess pasteurized eggs are not necessary.

Ale said...

Uhhh, this look great!!! :D I can't wait to try them...

Michael Ford said...

YYYYUUUUUMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!

*amanda* said...

wow i definitely must make these ... soon!! thanks so much for sharing

Scribbit said...

Oh this opens up all sorts of creative possibilities--what a terrific idea! Love these!

Carol Browne said...

AWESOME! That really looks beautiful and delish. Well done!

Sara said...

Yum! I just tried out this recipe and it turned out perfectly! So so cute. :)

Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

I just made these cupcakes and they are so delicious! I think each batter would be great by themselves. I ran out of eggs so I didn't make the frosting. My 2.5 year old daughter and I made these together. It was super easy.

I think the hardest part was trying to put the batter evening in the cupcake liners. Thanks for sharing! I will definitely make these again.

John said...

I made these for a birthday party yesterday, they were a hit. I LOVED the SMBC frosting, I will definitely be using that again. Thanks! picture

Stacey said...

I had trouble keeping the chocolate and vanilla separated, but swirled tastes just as fantastic!

The Frosted Cake Shop said...

What a brilliant idea!!! Any tips on keeping the batter half n half??

Cat said...

I noticed that Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe...

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, (3 sticks), softened, cut into tablespoons
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

..has one more stick of butter compared to the Strawberry SMBC.
What does one more stick of butter do? I know there's an additon of jam, so is that why you omited the extra stick?

Betsy said...

Oooooooh I'm making these next!!! :)

Stella said...

Thanks for the recipe! I won a contest at work with these cupcakes. (Your piping job was much better than mine.) Your strawberry swiss meringue buttercream recipe was excellent. Neopolitan Cupcake photo

michelle said...

I've been dying to try and make swiss meringue buttercream, but I notice that every recipe says switch to the paddle attachment...what if I don't have a paddle attachment? Can I still make it with a plain ol' electric hand mixer?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Michelle,

A few things to remember when making SMBC:
My base recipe is a ratio. I start with egg whites. For each egg white I use 1/4 cup of sugar, as well as 1/2 stick of butter. So if my recipe starts with 4 egg whites, I'm going to add 1 cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter. (Of course I slightly reduce the amount of sugar if I'm adding something sweet like melted chocolate or strawberry jam at the end.)
When melting the sugar with the egg whites over a double boiler, it really helps to have a digital thermometer. A candy thermomete works fine too, but digital is much faster, and you can find them at Wal-mart or Target for under $10. Make sure the mixture reaches 160 degrees F before you remove it from the heat. While it's cooking, keep it moving with a whisk. You aren't really trying to whip it at this point, you're just making sure the egg whites don't cook on the sides of the bowl.
If you're using a hand mixer, make sure you use a large bowl. Beat the hot egg mixture until it's completely cool to the touch. I like to test it with the back of my hand or finger where it's really sensitive. At this point it should be VERY thick and firm, kinda like the marshmallow fluff you can get at the store. If it's not thick by the time it is cooled down, just keep beating it on high. I've never made this frosting using only a hand mixer, so I don't know if it has enough power to really whip the egg whites the way they need to be beaten. All I can say is beat the heck out of them until they become super thick. It shouldn't be gloppy. It should be thick, but sticky. When it thickens it's time to add the butter.
Make sure the butter is softened, but still slightly cool. If it's too warm it will take forever to mix in. Add about 2 tablespoons at a time, and beat it for 15-30 seconds between each addition. When all the butter has been added, the mixture might begin to look curdled. And it will definitely get soupy again. But if you just keep it slightly cool (not cold) and keep beating it for as long as your arm can stand it, it should come together and be nice and thick. But like I said, I've never tried it with a hand mixer so I can't say for sure that it will work perfectly.

If you follow all these steps, and it still isn't working for you, my next advice is to borrow a friend's stand mixer or invest in one for yourself! :D

Good luck and remember to have fun!

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
my little cupcake said...

Thank you so much for the great advice...I actually have a stand mixer :) it just didn't come with a paddle attachment. I'm going to give it a shot...love your blog!!

Trail Mixalot said...

I thought these cupcakes looked amazing until I made them :\

The vanilla side of the cupcakes tasted very 'eggy' and the batter tasted pretty much like butter.

The meringue stage of the frosting was delicious and should have stopped there. I know its a 'buttercream', but I guess its just not my taste.

I might recommend cake flour for a moister cupcake.

Maybe I didn't follow this correctly, but it was okay. I think I just was too excited about it.

Trail Mixalot said...

"The vanilla side of the cupcakes tasted very 'eggy' and the batter tasted pretty much like butter."

I meant "frosting tasted like butter"

Sik said...

Hi! thanks for sharing all this recipes, do you think that I can use this recipe for a marbled cake? I'm looking for a recipe of moist marbled cake. By the way, I made the Hershey's cupcakes recipe and they were moist and delicious but the top (domed?) were flat =( I don't know why... maybe is the hight (level ocean)?. Sorry for my bad english. I love your blog!!!

Anonymous said...

I made this and was disappointed with the flavors, both sides were dense and tasted like shortbread. They were pretty, though!

hiralarious said...

So, I made these.
And they were delicious!
I didn't make the strawberry SMBC because I dislike strawberries and didn't feel like putting in that much effort, so I just used a chocolate glaze that I found here.
The vanilla somehow got messed up because it tasted really mad.. like bananas.
):
But.. I had a moment of genius and added cinnamon and it somehow worked out to make a delicious cupcake.
My chocolate side wasn't that dark as well.. but that's okay, because it's still the same in my tummy :3
Thanks for the recipe(:

mais said...

Can the egg whites be substituted for meringue powder? If so, how much meringue powder would I need to use and does the measurements for all the other ingredients remain the same?

Amy E. C. said...

I also had mixed results.

The chocolate side of the cupcake was much drier and less flavorful than the vanilla side.

The icing didn't hold its form. It was beautiful and tasty, really silky in texture and thick. But when I piped it on, it just melted off the cupcake. Disaster!

I'd used a hand mixer and I thought I was getting the stiffness and thickness required. But I guess not.

I made up a standard buttercream icing to use instead, and used your idea of adding the strawberry jam. It works great!

Of course, it's much richer than the silky meringue-based icing, but it will do for a party of four-year-olds.:)

Nika said...

Hey i was just wondering if its possible not to use whole milk, if your out?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Nika, you could substitute any reduced fat milk for whole milk. You could also use half-and-half or heavy cream, but the texture of the cake would be more dense and heavy.

Nika said...

Thanks, could it work vice versa, can i use reduced instead of whole?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Yes you can use reduced fat milk instead of whole.

PNYARI said...

anyone know if I could use salted butter instead unsalted? because I already bought two box of salted :( erg

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

You can use salted butter in the cake and just LEAVE OUT the salt in the recipe. But DO NOT use salted butter in the frosting. I can tell you from accidental experience, it is not tasty!

dana said...

Great recipe, Love it!
How do you store them and for how long?
Thanks