feasting with friends

A Buttercream Malfunction

Double Strawberry Cupcakes

What the completed cupcakes should look like.

I mentioned in my last post, Double Strawberry Cupcakes, that I had a “breakdown” of the frosting. I’ve made this particular recipe at least a 1/2 dozen times with no problem. But not this time! And the timing happened to be pretty bad. But first a little background… Our daughter, Mandy, was home from her life in D.C. for a week-long visit. Yeah!!! It was at Mandy’s urging that this blog was started in the first place. So in the days leading up to her return to her “homeland” she inquired if I would be making some of the good recipes she was reading about on the blog. Guess she was feeling a little left out of the fun. I will emphasize that I never NOT cook when she’s home, but the pressure was on. So cook and cook and cook I did 🙂 The closest I came to not cooking, was pulling out a container of my bolognese sauce from the freezer for a pasta night. So she was definitely well fed. Most of the posts from the past week have been the things I made during her visit. My goal was to send her off on a”sweet note”. Something she could take home to share with friends and co-workers. In came the Double Strawberry Cupcakes! As I said, I’ve made these many times, just not when she’s been home, and I really wanted her to try them. We had a busy weekend, after all there are a lot of people she wants to see when she’s in town. But I carved out time to get the cupcakes done. The plan was to bake the cupcakes Saturday morning before my Mom came for brunch. They were baked and I frosted just 1/2 dozen of the cakes to have for dessert. Check. Done. I put the remaining frosting in the refrigerator [as Martha Stewart states can be done] and went about my day. Served brunch, cleaned up, visit with a dear friend who was in town, pasta night, and attending a youth football game between 2 nephews with their 2 dads coaching. A fun filled day. Upon returning from the football game, I planned to put “the icing on the cake”, package them up and have them ready for Mandy’s return to D.C. the next day. I pulled the luscious strawberry butter-cream from the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature [or so I thought], placed it in the mixer, turned it on and…..noooooo! It completely broke apart. It looked like extra-small curd cottage cheese floating in strawberry juice.

A Buttercream Malfunction

The buttercream is a cottage cheese like gooey mess.

I know the picture is not real clear, but it looked disgusting. I didn’t know what to do. I let the mixer run, thinking it would come back together. No luck. I was close to tears, as it was already 11:00 pm at this point. I almost just dumped the whole thing. Mandy said un-frosted cupcakes would still be good. But really, can it still be called a cupcake? Not in my book. At this point frustration was winning and I was also very tired – so I left it until morning. So at 6:00 am I hit the internet and searched for a remedy. Thank goodness I found one…and it was easy! It seems as if my idea of room temperature, was not room temperature after all. My buttercream broke because it was still to cold. So it simply separated with the mixing activity. The remedy was to wrap my mixing bowl in a warm dish towel [I wet the towel in the sink, wrung it out, and heated it in the microwave for about 1  1/2 minutes], turned the mixer on low-medium and let it do it’s thing. It took about 5 minutes of mixing, and the towel warming the butter through the bowl, but it worked beautifully!

A Buttercream Malfunction

The buttercream is starting to come together.

Phew! A little over an hour later, Mandy was safely packed up, with 1 dozen perfectly topped, Double Strawberry Cupcakes in tow. The bonus – she and her friends thoroughly enjoyed them!

Double Strawberry Cupcakes

Ah, perfection!

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