Time to celebrate! It’s only March, but this is my last week of class/lab/seminar! Just like last term, my seminar group is having a potluck on our last day (aka tomorrow). As is the trend, I was excited to have a reasonably justifiable excuse to spend an entire day baking. I decided that it was also okay to spend almost an entire two-hour lecture looking at recipes. This led me to the conclusion that it was necessary to revisit my baking past, and put a new spin on something I’ve already done.
A few years ago, I made Inside-Out Neapolitan Cupcakes for my friend Jocelyn’s birthday. At this point in time, I was only just starting to follow baking blogs and was somewhat less proficient in the kitchen.
Neapolitan cupcakes, circa 2011
Even if they weren’t as polished as they could have been, these were super-cute cupcakes and needed a second attempt. I also haven’t made swiss meringue buttercream since then, and I wanted to give it another go.
The so-called spin on the classic strawberry-chocolate-vanillia trio was to use blueberry instead of strawberry, and use white chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate. Having white chocolate opened up the colour scheme a little bit, so I decided that the vanilla should be blue (because, let’s be honest, blueberries aren’t).
Luckily there were only a couple hiccups making the cupcakes. I realized after I picked up ingredients that the recipe said semi-sweet chocolate. Turns out I only had dark, unsweetened, and white chocolate. All three ended up in the batter.
That is some good-looking chocolate, and a song to match! No idea what it’s about, but if my friends tasted like chocolate, I would bite them too (lyrical reference, please don’t think I bite in a recreational fashion).
The cake itself turned out well; smooth, chocolate-y, and not too sweet. I would have like, however, for the cake to be moister.
I also may have accidentally spilled a box of toothpicks onto cupcake batter…
Pro-Tip #1: Don’t.
While the cake itself went well, the icing was a different story. My theory is that the butter was still too cold when I added it to the whipped egg whites, so it didn’t blend well (it looked a little curdle-y). I tried whipping it for quite a while, but it wasn’t smoothing out. I ended up taking a hairdryer to the outside of the bowl for a little bit, successfully softening the butter.
I also found that the blueberry puree was difficult to blend in. It took a lot of whipping (a a little bit of melted chocolate) to absorb all the moisture from the fruit. I definitely recommend mashing the [insert fruit here] puree through a strainer to get out seeds/peels; it makes piping easier. It is also worth mentioning that the chocolate made the icing very smooth and easy to pipe. The icing on its own is smooth, but much thicker. The different textures of icing made it a little bit tricky to pipe the swirls.
You can see that the texture is a little odd… There is also a disappointing lack of colour, so I cheated and added a drop of purple food gel >:)
Anyways, this is starting to feel very ramble-y…
I used the swiss meringue buttercream from the original recipe for Inside-Out Neapolitan Cupcakes on Sweetapolita, but opted for the cake recipe from one of her chocolate cakes because the batter is less watery and easier to handle. I explain how to get three colours in my post on Colourful Icing Swirls.