Let’s face it, cupcakes, aren’t about the cake so much as the frosting. The cake is really just there as a foil for the tasty frosting (how else can you justify putting several tablespoons of butter and sugar in your stomach?). I’m guessing this is why frosting haters typically don’t like cupcakes.
The other day when a craving for white chocolate matcha mint frosting popped into my head (no I’ve never tried this combo before), I decided to make cupcakes to serve the frosting on:-) Thus began the search for the perfect cupcake and frosting recipe to make my dream a reality. I remember seeing some yummy looking frosting recipes over at Tartelette’s blog, so I headed over in search of the perfect frosting recipe. What I found was a rendition of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mousseline Buttercream… Perfect!
Now for the cupcake… I wanted something light and airy while still moist and tender. I thought about using a sponge cake batter, but they tend to be a bit less velvety than I wanted and I was also looking for something nice and white without much of an eggy flavor. After sifting through a bunch of blogs and cookbooks I found what I was looking for. The New Best Recipe cookbook has a recipe for an “all purpose birthday cake” that uses no egg yolks and is absurdly simple. The following is based off that recipe.
coconut cupcake (makes 12)
1/2 C coconut milk
3 egg whites (room temp)
1 C + 2 Tbs cake flour
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter (room temp)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and move the rack to the middle position. Put cupcake liners into a muffin plan.
Combine the coconut milk and egg whites and whisk together.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix to combine.
Add the butter and beat until there are crumbly pebbles and no powdery ingredients left. Add half the milk/egg mixture. Beat for about 1 minute or until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the milk mixture, beating until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners till they’re about 2/3’s full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer or small knife inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
Once they’re out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool (if you leave them in the pan, the residual heat on the pan will overcook them).
White chocolate matcha mint buttercream
1/3 C sugar
2 Tbs water
2 large egg whites
2 sticks of butter softened but still cool(1 C)
4 oz white chocolate melted and cooled
1 tsp matcha powder
1-2 drops peppermint oil
Put the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat until it reaches 250 degrees F. Swirl if you have to, but don’t stir. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan if sugar crystals start forming.
Meanwhile beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the mixer bowl (careful not to pour it on the whisk directly or you’ll splatter really hot syrup all over the place). Whisk until the egg whites have cooled off.
Add the butter 1 Tbs at a time. If the butter is too cold it will clump, but don’t worry, just turn up the mixer a little and it will smooth out. If the butter is too warm, it will look runny, but again don’t worry, by the time you’re done adding butter it will firm up.
Add the cooled melted chocolate, the matcha powder and a drop or two of peppermint oil (this stuff is potent, and you don’t want it to overpower the matcha) and whisk on high until smooth and fluffy. If it still looks too loose, put the whole bowl in the fridge for a few minutes then whisk it some more.
Spoon or pipe a good dollop of frosting on each cupcake and serve.
Update: I submitted this to Sugar High Friday… this month’s theme: Asian Invasion, hosted by La Petite Boulangette. Thanks for the tip Brittany!