Friday, September 11, 2009

Cuppa cake or two?

Recently I acquired yet another cookbook which features fun and creative way to decorate cupcakes. As a cupcake aficionado myself, I was immediately inspired to make some - decorated like Shibas! What's a Shiba, you ask? Only the cutest breed of dog in the world! They are a beautiful and quirky Japanese breed of dog and my family and I have been helping take care of one for years. She's my fur baby and I thought it would be an appropriate homage to her to make cupcakes with her adorable face on each one.
Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite how I had envisioned it. The cake was great! Amazing, in fact! (Martha recipe, of course - Yellow Butter Layer Cake) But the so much. Looks decent in the photo, right? But let me tell ya - a classic buttercream is a skill to be learned. And I was schooled. Big time.
The method has three parts:
  1. Make a syrup.
  2. Heat and whisk eggs
  3. Incorporate the two and a mutha load of butter.
Step 1 and 2 went well and as planned, but Step 3 - not so much!
My problems were:
  1. The syrup was waaaaay too hot. (no thanks to my TWO thermometers!)
  2. It cooked some of the eggs (yeah, I know, eewwwwww!).
  3. I didn't strain out the egg bits - I didn't know if straining the syrup would break the syrup or not and I didn't want to risk it.
  4. There are teeny globs of egg in the icing.
  5. I know! Gross, right? But you can't taste them! And I already put three bloody sticks of butter in that mess, so it's too late!
  6. Other than the little globules of egg - they look really pretty.
End result: I didn't make little Shiba faces. I made pretty pink starbursts instead. And sprinkled them with clear sanding sugar. and they taste pretty darn good. Globules of egg and all.

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