Monday, June 9, 2014

New Cupcakes with Beautiful Texture

I am not much of a cupcake fan, all in all, usually figuring it isn't necessary to dirty a muffin tin and have to wash all those little wells when I can just make a cake, even two-layers and only have to wash two items. Just me. Still, every so often I just want to make something small. Yesterday was one of those days. I wanted to make "Key Lime" cupcakes, but only had regular limes, so Lime Cupcakes they turned out to be. Going on a concept of what goes into a Key Lime Pie for example, I wanted something creamy in the frosting, so of course I used cream cheese. Then I wondered if using Malibu Rum would up the tropical flavors. Usually with any type of alcohol added, and most especially if it is one of the regular alcohols and not a liqueur, the alcohol flavor really shines through. Not this time. The frosting is delicious, but I do not detect any rum or coconut flavor.

The lime flavors used in the cupcakes were fresh lime zest, some lime juice and a few drops of lime oil to reinforce the flavor. I have little bottles of Boyajian Citrus Oils; Orange, Lime and Lemon. These are pure citrus oils and not extracts. The flavor is really true and very strong. Lime is my favorite of them all. I used a little measuring spoon that is deemed "just a smidgen" and holds 1/32 of a teaspoon. This turned out to be 4 very tiny drops. The overall lime flavor is lovely in the cupcakes; just enough, but not overwhelming.
Lime Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
Lime Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

The cake itself started when I created a white cake recipe. I used 4 drops of green food color to simulate the "lime" color, otherwise it would have just been a white cake with little green flecks of lime zest in it. No matter the color, the texture of the cake is just perfect. It is very tender, with an exceedingly fine texture and crumb. I almost wish I had just made it in cake form. Oh well. Though less an exciting flavor combination than I had hoped for, they are most delicious to eat.

Lime Cupcakes

Lime Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
Lime Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 drops green food color, optional
1 - 4 drops lime oil, optional
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4), room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 on Convection Bake). Prepare cupcake tins by either greasing the individual cups or lining with muffin papers. Alternatively, if making cake layers, grease two 8 or 9-inch baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Grease the parchment. Set aside.

Sift or whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt and lime zest. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or use the whisk attachment on a heavy duty stand mixer until the mixture is just making crumbs. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, lime juice, vanilla, food color and lime oil if using and set this aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are just starting to have a little bit of form to them in the wake of the mixer. Begin beating in the remaining cup of sugar a little at a time until the meringue is just at stiff peaks and still very glossy. 

Now go back to the flour and butter mixture and add in the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined and no dry ingredients remain. Fold in the meringue gently until no streaks remain. Divide the batter into prepared muffin tins or cake pans. Bake cupcakes for about 20 to 25 minutes. Bake cake layers for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out to a rack to finish cooling.

As an alternative to using rum or Malibu Rum, coconut flavoring would be great in this frosting. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there. The coconut flavor along with regular rum would also be good.

Malibu Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or one two layer cake

2 sticks butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
2 teaspoons Malibu Rum, optional

It is highly important the butter and cream cheese be at room temperature before starting with this frosting. It will not beat properly otherwise.

Place the butter and cream cheese into the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat these ingredients for 8 minutes on medium speed, until the mixture is almost white and very soft. Separately, sift together the confectioners' sugar and salt and add all at once to the mixer bowl, along with the lime zest. Start the mixer on the lowest speed for about 1 minute, until most of the confectioners' sugar is moistened enough to not fly all about the room. Increase speed to medium again and beat for another 6 minutes, adding in any flavorings before this time is elapsed. Be careful to not add more liquid than needed or the frosting will be too soft to hold together nicely. Taste for flavor.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.