Makes 3 cups, enough to frost 84 cupcakes
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes too hot to touch comfortably, 7 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on, medium-high speed until the egg whites hold a stiff peak, about 8 minutes. Add the-butter, one or two pieces at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Use at room temperature.
To Make Brown Sugar Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, substituting 1 cup packed dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar.
To Make Peanut Butter Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Brown Sugar Buttercream, adding 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter along with the vanilla.
To Make Honey Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, substituting 3/4 cup honey for 3/4 cup of the sugar.
To Make Coconut Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream and add either 1/2 cup sweetened canned coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez), or 3 ounces pure creamed coconut, a dense, highly flavored brick of coconut fat, sometimes found in the international sections of supermarkets. Do not confuse pure creamed coconut with the liquid coconut cream that comes in a can.
To Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange Buttercream
Follow instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream and add 3 tablespoons of either lemon juice, lime juice, or Grand Marnier (for the orange version). Then grate and add the zest of either one lemon, two limes, or one orange. If you don't want to add the zest, substitute either 2 drops of lemon oil, lime oil, or orange oil (available at specialty baking stores). Stir to combine.
See Lemonade Stand for information on making cupcakes.
50 Recipes for Every Season and Celebration
by Sara Neumeier
Photographs by Jonelle Weaver
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Spiral bound with easel; $17.95 ($24.95 Canada)
112 pages; 25 full-color photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2005
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