It was on my calendar for days to find a good white velvet cake recipe and make it (this is why I don’t dread my calendar…I put food to-dos on there). I hear about red velvet cake all the time, but it freaks me out…a bottle of red food coloring in each batch? What IS that stuff? What’s wrong with a white velvet cake? Nothing. Bring in the white velvet cupcakes. What’s unusual about these cupcakes is they don’t follow the usual creaming method. For this reason, I was originally very skeptical of them because they break the baking rules. But they’re sooooo good. They’re fluffy and light and…velvety =) Their light texture and delicately delicious flavor called for a really tasty buttercream, and while I was browsing the aisles of the grocery store, I thought EARL GREY!!! And holy smokes…white velvet cupcakes with earl grey buttercream…it’s just divine. Here’s how to make them:
Yield: 14-16 cupcakes
3 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk (I use Skim)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz cake flour, sifted (if you don’t have a scale, sift your flour in 2 cups, and level it off)
1 cup sugar
2.25 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter between 65 and 75 degrees F
Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, 3 tbsp of the milk, and the vanilla until combined.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the rest of the milk (about 7 tbsp) and mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 90 seconds, until nice and smooth like this:
Scrape down the bowl, make sure to scrape down below where sticky batter may settle.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly add half the egg mixture, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom wells of the bowl. Repeat with the other half of the egg mixture. Scrape the bowl again to make sure all the batter is homogenous. Fill a cupcake pan with your liners, and fill them up 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and let them cool on the rack completely.
Earl Grey Buttercream: This is a professional style buttercream. You could also do a “quick buttercream” which is butter beaten with confectioner’s sugar. It’s easy, and most people don’t notice it’s gritty texture (too bad I’m such a buttercream snob…otherwise I could have it the easy way). Besides, you have all those egg yolks leftover from the cupcake batter…so you might as well give it a try! I was originally going to let the earl grey infuse and then strain the tea out, but there’s no need. Its texture isn’t really noticeable in the buttercream.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
.75 cups butter, diced into small cubes
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 bag earl grey tea (cut it open and dump the tea in the buttercream)
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on high speed for 8 minutes until they are very pale. In the meantime, combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, and let the sugar syrup simmer toward the soft ball stage (238 degrees on an instant read thermometer). When both the egg yolks and the sugar syrup are ready, pour the sugar syrup into the mixing bowl (the mixer should still be on high speed), aiming as best as you can to pour between the wire whisk and the side of the bowl. Now, touch the bottom of the bowl. Very hot, right? Beat the egg yolk sugar mixture until the bowl feels neither hot nor cold (about 5 minutes). It should have this consistency:
Turn the mixer down to medium and add the earl grey tea. If you taste the buttercream and it doesn’t taste Early Grey-y enough, don’t worry, the earl grey needs time to infuse into the buttercream. Add the butter, a couple cubes at a time to the bowl, over the course of 10 minutes. Wait until each installment of butter is absorbed until you add the next batch. Pipe or spread your buttercream on your cupcakes, and enjoy!
Cake base of this recipe graciously adapted from WhatAboutSecondBreakfast Blog. Thank you!
Earl Grey Buttercream adapted from my Roasted Chestnut Buttercream recipe.