I was thinking about making a fancy gluten-free wedding cake but I feared the graduated layers might look more like a leaning tower of buttercream.
I’m a little bit scared of heights and tall cakes with tiers make me a little uneasy. I prefer my cakes to be at
fork eye level.
Wedding cupcakes are a great alternative. They’re small. They travel well. And generally they don’t lean. I worry about carrying the cakes I make from the kitchen to the photography table – I cannot even imagine transporting a tiered cake in a car. But cupcakes? That I can handle.
Pretty little dressy white cupcakes can be yours in a flash. You can whip up the cupcake batter and bake them one day and add the buttercream frosting the next. The flavors in the cake only get better with a day of rest.
I’d suggest making multiple batches if you need a bunch (more than 18). Doubling up a recipe involves changes to ratios and that is always tricky. And unless you have a huge oven or a zillion muffin tins, it’ll be easier to make one batch at a time.
This is how I do it. Mix up a batch. Bake. Eat one because you can’t wait. Rest. Make another batch. Eat one. Rest. Repeat. You get the idea.
These cupcakes, while perfect for a wedding would also be great for any special occasion or just because you like white cupcakes. Some of you have been asking questions about cake baking and particularly about Swiss meringue buttercream. These tips might help.
- For a flatter top cupcake, fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 full. These particular cupcakes need to have flat tops so the buttercream can be applied all the way to the edges inside the liner. Usually I suggest 2/3 full which gets you a nice dome, but not for this recipe.
- Make sure you separate the eggs while they are cold – you’ll be less likely to get any yolk in the whites. Since you are heating the whites for the buttercream, you can start with eggs from the refrigerator. No need for them to be at room temperature like they ought to be for the cake batter. Be sure there is not a speck of yolk in those whites or it won’t whip.
- Whip until there are huge giant glossy mountain peaks and the bottom of the bowl is cool enough to leave your hand on it. Apply some ice cubes to the outside of the bottom of the bowl to cool it off if need be. If your whites are perfect and the bowl is still hot or very warm, and you add the butter right away, the resulting buttercream will be all melty. Barely warm to the touch is what you want the bottom of the bowl to feel like before throwing in the soft butter.
- Don’t forget to change to the paddle attachment after the whites are whipped and before adding the very soft butter chunks to the whipped whites. It will indeed kill those lofty whites almost immediately, but don’t fret. It’ll be icing in no time. While the mixer is running, add the butter in pieces and let the mixer keep beating it on almost the highest setting and don’t look. Really. Don’t.
- It’s darkest before the dawn. Or some such idiotic thing like that. As soon as you add the butter and are using the paddle, the buttercream will look like a science project gone awry. But patience my baking grasshoppers. Patience. Just let that mixer rip. And look away. The next sound you hear will be buttercream.
- The mixer noise changes when buttercream shows up. It goes from a slush slush slush ick to thud thud thud slap. That’s the buttercream. Now add in flavor .
- Crank the air conditioner down to sub-zero. Make sure your kitchen is not 100 degrees when making the Swiss Buttercream. The icing will quickly become a liquid puddle. If you have to – mix it up and quickly set it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. After piping, refrigerate the cupcakes until about 30 minutes before serving them if it is very warm outside (or inside).
|White Wedding Cupcakes, Gluten Free||
- 145 grams unsalted butter, soft room temperature (10 tablespoons)
- 175 grams superfine granulated (baker’s) sugar (7/8 of a cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 1 whole extra-large egg plus 2 extra-large egg whites
- 200 grams AP GF flour (100 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 50 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1½ cups)
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 145 grams whole fat or low fat (not nonfat) milk (3/4 cup)
- 4 extra-large egg whites (separate while cold)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 200 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
- 287 grams unsalted butter, very soft room temperature (almost 2.5 sticks)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon pure orange extract (it looks clear)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- something shiny and white
- Preheat oven to 325. Place fancy schmancy white liners in muffin tins (16-18 cupcakes). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) fluff up the butter with the sugar until it looks light and fluffy – almost like frosting. Add the vanilla, almond and orange extracts and mix. Add the egg and whites mixing until fully incorporated. You may have to scrape down the sides, but make sure the egg is mixed in thoroughly. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add to the butter/egg mixture on low until just mixed in. Add in the milk and mix just until incorporated. Remove from stand and using a silicone spatula, fold the batter to make sure all the dry stuff is mixed in. Fill liners about ½ full. Bake about 16-18 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out without crumbs. Don’t let it get brown or golden because you want a white cupcake. Cool for a minute and remove cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
- In a stand mixer bowl place 4 extra-large egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Make sure those egg whites don’t have a speck of yolk in them or they will not whip. Place bowl over a pan with simmering water and stir until temperature reads 160 degrees. Keep the heat on medium to medium low. It should take just a few minutes. Once the mixture is 160 degrees, place the bowl on the stand mixer and with whip attachment beat until whites attain really high glossy peaks and bottom of bowl can be touched by your hand and it isn’t hot (see tips in post). Switch to paddle attachment and while on medium speed add pieces of butter until all of it is incorporated. Turn to high and mix until buttercream comes together. It will go through a stage where it appears curdled and looks like a wreck. Just keep going. You will hear it thump before you notice that it has changed to a decent looking buttercream. Add the almond, orange and vanilla extracts. If the buttercream is melty, refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature for best flavor.
- Right after piping (if you wait the decorations might not adhere) sprinkle with shiny sugar or pearls of your choice.