Every month, the local YWCA holds a Cupcake Awards event. Residents and staff can nominate one someone who's done something kind or extraordinary in the past month. Since I joined the board of the organization, I've been baking cupcakes for the event at home. It seemed like a worthwhile kind of event that deserved better than store-bought cupcakes. The thing I could never get down was the frosting, though.
When the owner of a local sweets shop, Sue of Sweet Sue's, joined the board, I had to ask: what was I doing wrong? I beat the heck out of the frosting like my mother taught me, but it always separates.
She gave me three key tips: 1. Use quality butter; 2. Don't use a metal mixer, better to use paddles; and 3. Make sure the butter is warmer than room temperature. I was super pleased with the results. I told someone: this might be too buttery for some people's tastes, and that person said: what kind of person would that be?
1 lb butter, a bit warmer than room temperature
1 tsp salt
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
8 oz whipping cream
Heat the egg whites and 1 cup of sugar in a dish set in boiling water. Whisk constantly so that the eggs do not cook. If any part of the egg solidifies, strain it into a clean dish. Cool it in the fridge while you whip the butter.
Whip the butter with salt in a mixer with paddles until fluffy. Do not skimp on the mixing time.
When the egg mixture is cooled, add gradually to the whipping butter, then pour in the whipping cream slowly. Beat until you get the consistency that you want.
You can add all kinds of flavoring with the whipping cream; for vanilla buttercream, add vanilla extract.