Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lemon Buttercake/Vanilla Buttercream & Chocolate/Whipped Ganache

More on cupcakes!  There are basically two types of cupcakes here:

Chocolate cupcake with whipped chocolate ganache

These are the same chocolate cupcakes I posted about earlier, using a recipe from Martha Stewart's site.  The whipped chocolate ganache makes these really, really rich for the real chocolate lovers out there ...

I used a ganache recipe from Savory Sweet Life, which has great instructions and photos so you can make sure you're doing it right as you make it.  I cooled the ganache in my refrigerator when I went to work on the buttercream frosting and finished baking the cupcakes, and then I whipped it up with a hand mixer.  Then I put the whipped ganache into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a tip, just as I did with the buttercream, and layered the cupcakes with it.

After you whip the ganache, it's important to get it on the cupcakes fairly quickly.  It begins to harden after 15 minutes or so, and just becomes difficult to handle (I learned this through experience with these cupcakes, and needed to warm up the whipped ganache and then whip it briefly again to even out the texture ... not ideal).  

In my next post, I'm going to write a bit about filling the cupcakes.  For these chocolate ones I filled some of them with the same whipped chocolate ganache that they're frosted with here, so they were super-duper chocolate-y.  But the ganache itself is quite rich and I think it's plenty just to use it as a frosting, depending on your taste, of course.  Anyhow, I'll get back to this in the next post, though, because filling these things can make them pretty awesome. 

Lemon butter cake with vanilla buttercream frosting 

For the yellow cupcakes, I used a recipe for butter cake that I actually wasn't a huge fan of in the end, so I'm not going to post it here.  If I were to do these again, I would find a yellow cake recipe (not butter cake) and use that instead ... in a pinch, I might even just use a yellow cake mix ... but, sshhhhhhh.

What I would still do, which I did for the cupcakes pictured here and in the photo in the last post, is add a Tbsp of fresh lemon juice and a Tbsp of minced lemon zest to the batter.  This is an amount that gives the cake a subtle lemon-y taste without being overpowering.

I didn't fill these cupcakes like I did the chocolate ones you'll see/read about in my next post, partly because of time and party because I couldn't quite decide what to fill them with.  Some options: Add lemon zest to the buttercream and fill it with that, lemon mousse, vanilla pudding.  Another option that just occurred to me is to make some type of berry mousse or whipped cream ... with just a subtle berry flavor so that it's complementary with the lemon in the cake.  The research and development team will keep working on this one :).

I used the same vanilla buttercream recipe I used for the chocolate-blackberry cupcakes ... and as you can see in the photo, I also used blackberries in the center (I also placed raspberries in the center of some of them).  Then I used a lemon zester to create the threads of lemon you see on top.  Just remember to put the berry and the lemon zest on top of the cupcake pretty quickly after frosting it; you need to press those into the frosting slightly and you want to be sure that the frosting is still soft enough that that's easy to do. 

One more posting on cupcakes to come ...

(Photo: Dan Nystedt)


  1. Oooh those cupcakes look fantastic! I definitely could use one for breakfast! =)

  2. Good to know someone else out there wants to eat cupcakes for breakfast, too! :)

  3. i'm learning to do cupcakes but there is always something I forget or run out of time for. I have to remind myself that cupcakes these days aren't just one dessert they are 3-4 (cake, filling, frosting, topping) and lets not get started on the muffin cups or cupcake wrappers....so much, but so yum! What are you studying?

  4. Thanks for the comment, Gwenevere. I agree, there are a lot of steps to cupcakes ... thankfully when I made these I had been saving some cupcake wrappers, but I was thwarted another time when intended to double the recipe for the cake and had to settle for just one batch when I ran out of cocoa! And filling them can be time-consuming ... but is quite delicious. Oh, and I am studying human development - mainly immigration and refugee resettlement.