There are things in life that some people do better than others. They just do. And when you come across one of those people, you can only recognize it and try to learn from them.
When it comes to cupcakes, I believe Martha Stewart is way up there. She knows what’s going on.
So it is a bit natural for me to turn to her when I am looking for a new cupcake recipe to try. Which is what I did this week as I was preparing my 30th post on this blog and was looking for a nice cupcake recipe to highlight it.
The cupcakes themselves were easy to do, they really were. The caramel buttercream, not so much!
First, the caramel. When you do caramel, incorporate the cream quickly in the saucepan. I thought it would be too hot to just put the cream in the pan, so I transferred the boiling sugar into a bowl and then added the cream. Mistake. The sugar needs to stay very hot in order to absorb the cream and get very creamy.
My second problem occurred when I was doing the frosting. As you will see below, the base of the frosting consists of whisking the egg until they are foamy. Then you add the butter that you previously worked so it is smooth and fluffy.
What happened is that it will become grainy, then lumpy, then extremely lumpy – almost greasy. I stopped there and tried to work it with a wooden spoon. Nothing happened. After a while a weird liquid started to form on the sides of the bowl.
So I threw everything in the garbage and started again, thinking I may have over worked the egg white.
Second mistake. Actually, I had not worked the egg whites with the butter enough! When you think your frosting looks disgusting, keep whisking, and whisking, and whisking. It will eventually get together and transform into a creamy frosting.
Then you beat in the caramel and you are done. The result is delicious.
So for this 30th post on Sugar Coated, here are banana pecan cupcakes topped with caramel butter cream frosting. And thank you Martha for sharing this recipe. I wish I could take some credit, but I can’t. She is way too ‘up there’ for me to catch up – yet!
For the cupcakes, you will need:
3 cups of sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cups of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 very ripe large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
For the caramel buttercream frosting:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of cream
1 ½ cups of unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Sift the cake flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl, mix the bananas with the buttermilk and the vanilla.
Beat the butter with the sugar until you get a fluffy mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time.
Then add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk mix.
Stir in pecan and mix well.
In a cupcake pan, line up the paper trays and pour the mixture to about ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Let the cupcakes cool before adding the frosting.
In a saucepan, bring ½ cup plus two tablespoons of sugar and the water to a boil. Cook until it’s fully boiling and is becoming darker. The darker the sugar, the more bitter the taste. So be careful not to overcook your sugar.
Remove from the heat and add the cream, mixing constantly until smooth. Let it cool.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and creamy. Set aside.
Over a bain-mari, whisk the egg whites by hand with the remaining sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm.
Transfer the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on low speed until the mixture is almost cool. Increase the speed and whisk until you get a foamy and completely smooth mix.
Beat in the butter. Mix until the texture becomes a glossy frosting.
Stir in the caramel and mix well. You now have a caramel buttercream frosting to spread on your cupcakes, enjoy!