Friday, August 12, 2011

Guess Whoooo? It's a girl!

I can share something with you because we're so close, right? Meh, I don't care, I'm going to tell you anyway. I've always known I'd have a daughter someday; someone whom I would dress up and be besties with… and I'm really excited I finally get to celebrate! Yes, there is a baby girl on the way and so this cake story was a labor of love. And of course, it was always a given that my first girl would be special.

These creations will be taken to work for the office baby shower and I'm so excited to share them with everyone there. They are the best chocolate (cup)cakes with the most delicious strawberry-raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream. And who doesn't love owls. WHO? WHO? I can’t believe I stayed up all night making over 30 of these little buggers.

I haven't told many people about this but I guess I'm telling all 3 of my readers now - this was the first order I’ve received for a girl baby shower and it was so much fun! So, no, there are no actual baby showers in my honor.  I’m just crashing others' living vicariously for now. (Mom: You can exhale and release your death-grip on the chair arm-rests. No grandkids for you just yet.)  I also did a sky themed order for a baby boy named Skylar last year with piping marshmallow for clouds. Just redonkulously cute. I can't help but wonder what theme my own baby shower will have... A girl's gonna day dream, right?

I’ve used this Smitten chocolate butter cake recipe before for the Captain’s Cake and for cupcakes… I don’t remember the occasion. Cupcakes don't need an ocassion. They should be eaten just because. This cake is just so dang soft and chocolately and delicious that I always forget to write down that it does not make for a very pretty cupcake! The cake is so light that the paper liner kind of slumps off. Fiddlesticks! Whatevs, it’s still delish and I got mine.

The Swiss meringue buttercream was made in the usual manner with added berries and the frosting came together beautifully with no fuss at all (the stars must have aligned in my favor). Just think of the best strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had. This is it. Next time, however, I would pipe with an open star tip Atecco #828 rather than the closed star tip Wilton #2D because pieces of fruit purree kept stopping up the tip - but really, this might only become frustrating if you're sleep deprived, covered in cake batter and piping at 3am with 32 fondant owls still to make.

I’ve learned to make my own fondant since the fiasco of my first experience (you can re-live that here if you must). It’s time consuming, but so much tastier and cheaper. You can make it ahead and freeze it too according to Rose Levy-Berenbaum in The Cake Bible. And We do not question Rose. For this project, however, I am guilty of using the pre-made stuff. If you’ve ever played with play-doh, it’s pretty much that. No special tools. I don’t have a ton of experience with fondant but this was just what I needed to get back in my artsy groove. (Fondant's a total fad and buttercream will rise up and dominate once again.)

Chocolate Butter Cake
I adapted Smitten Kitchen's recipe to yield 2/3 of the batter and 48 cupcakes

Strawberry & Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Enough for 36 cupcakes
6 sticks of butter (1.5 lbs)
1.5 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
8 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry puree
1/2 cup strawberry puree

Mmmm, so I eyeballed the amount of buttercream I needed for 4 dozen cupcakes and came up short by a whole dozen. Good thing I needed only three dozen! You can look at my post on Swiss meringue buttercream for the method. Make sure to use soft butter that's been out at room temperature for a while, and have to whisk attachment on your stand mixer set to medium-high. Add the fruit last, little by little, making sure the buttercream doesn't get too runny.


  1. These are fantastic and adorable! Keep it up :D

  2. Amazing creativity! This is perfect for my Sis who recently delivered a bouncing baby boy.

  3. Thanks Meghan! Wow, love your site! :)

    Thank you myfudo! Your recipes look so yummy! I'm going to have to try a few of them. :)

  4. Linking our readers your way! THANKS for such a great idea! Brooke McLay, Food Writer