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Monday, April 27, 2015

Derm's Old-fashioned Gingerbread Cake


I don't think Old-fashioned Gingerbread Cake is often baked or eaten by today's generation.  But if you love gingersnaps or gingerbread men at Christmas time you'll love Gingerbread Cake.  All the spicy flavour and goodness of the cookies are contained in the cake and you don't have the bother of rolling, cutting and baking all those individual cookies.  

A few years ago, when I was babysitting Ben, I decided I wanted to make a gingerbread cake and because I didn't have my cookbooks and recipes with me I started searching the internet looking for a recipe that might give me a nice moist cake.  After finding and discarding dozens of recipes I finally settled on one that sounded like it might be good.  It used black strap or cooking molasses which I thought would make a great old-fashioned gingerbread cake.  

I made the recipe and had it on the counter cooling when Anne walked through the door, home from university.  She was tired and hungry so I told her to have a slice of the gingerbread.  Anne loves gingerbread so I didn't have to urge her to have a slice.  She took a big bite and immediately spit it out with the speed of a rocket propelled jet.  Not one to mince her words, she told me it was awful, disgusting, nasty and other choice words of revulsion all the while spitting the remnants of gingerbread into the garbage bin. I was a little surprised at her reaction to my lovingly baked gingerbread so I took a bite.  It Was Awful.  But I ate it and said it wasn't bad.  It was bad--bitter with the overpowering taste of black strap molasses.  There was nothing sweet and gingery about this gingerbread.  I ate one more slice during the next two days but I believe Ben and I took the remainder of it to the ducks who seemed to like it well enough.  

After Anne recovered from the unpleasant episode she told me her Uncle Derm's Gingerbread was the best she'd ever eaten and if I was going to make gingerbread I should make his.   Derm is renowned (even famous) in Anne's family for his baking skills.  I knew if I was going to make gingerbread again it certainly wouldn't be the one with black strap molasses so I gladly accepted Derm's recipe in its place.

Gingerbread is delicious right out of the oven served with a lemon, apple or caramel sauce. A dollop of whipped cream never goes astray, either.  It is equally good plain or with a pat of butter melting into the gingery brown crumbs of the warm cake. Gingerbread is also just as tasty served cold or at room temperature with the same toppings or spreads.  It makes a nice dessert after dinner or a snack tucked into a lunch box.

Make sure to use fancy molasses in this recipe as cooking molasses or black strap molasses is too strong and will not give good results as we know from my little story. Derm's Old-fashioned Gingerbread Cake won't disappoint you. No one will be spitting this one out or feeding it to the ducks!


Old-fashioned Gingerbread Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3⅓ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⅓ cups boiling water
1½ cups fancy or table molasses

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a10-inch tube pan or grease and line with parchment paper a 9x13-inch pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs beating until well combined.  Mix or sift together the flour, salt, spices and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. 

Dissolve molasses in boiling water and add to the thick batter.  Stir with spoon or on the lowest setting of the mixer.  Turn up the speed once the liquid is incorporated and beat an additional 2 minutes or until any lumps have been dissolved. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.  The batter will be quite thin.

Bake tube pan about 75 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Bake 9x13-inch pan about 55 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in for 15 minutes and then turn out on cooling rack.  The 9x13-inch cake may be served from the pan.  

Serve the Gingerbread Cake warm or cold, plain or with a sauce or whipped cream.  Sauces that go well with Gingerbread are lemon, apple and caramel.  Sweetened whipped cream is always a good choice as well. 




Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat well until combined.

 
Sift or mix together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda and add to the creamed mixture.


The mixture will be very thick.  Stir the boiling water and molasses together and pour into the stiff batter.  Stir with a spoon or on the lowest setting of your mixer.  Once the water/molasses has been incorporated turn the speed up and give it a good beating (ouch!).  Now the batter will be very thin.


Pour the Gingerbread batter into the prepared pan.  Today I used a 9x13-inch baking pan.  It baked to perfection in 55 minutes. 


The Gingerbread can be served warm or cold.  It slices beautifully when cold.


Here, have a slice or two (or three).

I'm having mine with a little apple sauce and a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. . . mmmmmm. . . . . .


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Delcie's Macaroni Pizza. . . the best of both worlds


Macaroni Pizza is a variation of Macaroni and Cheese or maybe it's a variation of pizza.   Whatever it is, it's a delicious casserole for your dinner or supper.

My friend, Delcie first introduced this tasty dish to me at a church potluck.  She not only made the dish but gave me the recipe as well.  It was on one of those supermarket tear-off recipes promoting a particular product used in the casserole.  I thought it was so thoughtful of her to think of me.  I was hooked on it the minute I put it in my mouth and as far as I can tell so is everyone else.  Her dish is scraped clean by the time a potluck is over.  It has all the best features of both Macaroni and Cheese and Pizza.  How good is that!  

This is one of Delcie's signature dishes. (She also makes a killer Scalloped Potatoes!) This is also one of the casseroles she drops off at someone's house when there is a sickness or a funeral in the family.  When Don was convalescing from appendicitis, Delcie showed up at our door with a dish of Macaroni Pizza.  I can tell you that was a much appreciated gift that we enjoyed eating the next couple of days. 

Try this delicious Macaroni Pizza and you won't be sorry and your family will praise your cooking skills and ask for seconds.  (Now, if you could only get them to clean up the kitchen!)

Added Note:  Delcie told me, since this was published, that she uses cheddar cheese so it will be more like a traditional mac and cheese.  It's delicious either way!

Macaroni Pizza
2 cups uncooked macaroni
½ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of salt
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided (Use the stretchy pizza cheese if you can find it.)
1 cup chunky vegetable pasta sauce or your favourite
Pizza topping of you choice (mushrooms, onions, peppers, pineapple, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10-inch round baking dish or a use a rectangular dish of the same volume.

Cook macaroni according to package directions for 6-8 minutes or until tender.  

Beat milk and egg together.  Add 1 cup of cheese, pinch of salt, and the cooked macaroni.  Mix well.

Spread mixture evenly into the prepared dish.   Spoon pasta sauce evenly over macaroni.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover with favourite toppings.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until set.  Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Boil the macaroni and drain.  Beat the eggs, milk and salt together and mix with the macaroni and mozzarella cheese.  Spread the mixture in  the prepared pan.


Spread the macaroni with your choice of pasta sauce.  I just use what I have on hand.  Sprinkle the top with the reserved cheese and your favourite toppings.  I like green pepper or any pepper as a topping but didn't have any in the house.  I used onion, mushrooms, black olives and pineapple.  Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and starting to brown on top. 


Let sit 5 minutes before serving.  This will allow for easier serving.

Doesn't that look like a pizza?

But there's that macaroni making an appearance.  And that's why this is called. . . 
MACARONI PIZZA!

Have a bite!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Veggie Burgers--Vegan


Burgers are always a popular dinner item at our house and these burgers are an excellent choice, especially if you will be entertaining anyone who eats a vegan diet.  You'll be on their Top 10 list of beloved people.

When Peter was 13 years old he decided he was going to become a vegetarian and not only vegetarian but vegan!  Now what to do?  Because I was a working mother, and didn't have time to prepare two sets of meals, we all started eating vegan.  That wasn't too bad as we were eating vegetarian for more than half our meals anyway.  It was a struggle at first to adopt and adapt recipes that didn't include eggs, milk or cheese but we were successful and found it wasn't too hard at all.  One of my main priorities was to make the food delicious and appealing to anyone who was eating.   I had no intentions of sitting down to a plate of hay just because it was vegan! 

I was so happy when I found this recipe.  Every time I made them Peter would look at me suspiciously and ask if there was meat in the burger.  They do taste meaty.  I think it's the texture of the veggie burger that tricks the taste buds.  Because there is no cheese or eggs to bind the ingredients in these burgers they are much softer than their vegetarian cousins.  But they are delicious and when they have cooled a little they are quite sturdy in a bun. 

Although we have reverted to the dark side and are now vegetarian and not vegan I still make this recipe from time to time.  I don't know where I found this recipe as I didn't keep track of such things away back in the 20th century.  I have made a search but have come up with no credits.  So whoever is responsible for this recipe, I thank you. 

Just a note about the salt.  Today I used the Italian Ground Round which is seasoned and quite salty and didn't need the half teaspoon of salt.  Taste your mixture before adding the salt.

Veggie Burgers
1½ cups vegan vegeburger (Yves Veggie Ground Round is good)
⅓ cup thick cooked oatmeal
¼ cup onions, chopped
½ medium potato, grated
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon savory (or ¼ teaspoon sage)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs

Cooking spray or oil for frying

Mix above ingredients.  Spray frying pan with cooking spray or use a little oil.  Form into small patties and fry slowly until nicely browned on both sides.  Or bake on oiled or parchment lined cookie sheet in 375 degree oven. 

Serve on on buns with lettuce and tomato and favourite condiments.

Makes approximately 8-9 burger patties.  


 The ingredients set out ready to be mixed.  

Mix everything together.  I use an ice cream scoop to make equal sized burger patties.

 Fry slowly in a little oil.

When nicely browned on one side, turn and continue cooking.  You may also bake these patties in a 375 degree oven.
Drain on paper toweling if fried.

Serve the Veggie Burgers with a side of veggies and fries.  Don't forget the ketchup, mustard and pickles.


Doesn't that look delicious!


Yum, yum, yum!

Veggie Burgers for everyone's choice.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Let's Make A Wedding Cake


I made a wedding cake but not just any wedding cake.  This one never went to a wedding but to a fundraiser for the town's Mural Arts Society.  If you click on the link it will take you to the mural page where you can click on the map to see where the murals are painted.  This is a beautification project as well as a recognition of the history of the town.  It is hoped in time the town will become a renowned mural arts tourist destination.  If you are ever in the area make sure you visit and see the murals that are scattered around town on the sides of buildings.   But aside from that, you might be wondering what a wedding cake has to do with the fundraising.

The Mural Arts Society held a Wedding Gown Fashion Show, with gowns going as far back as 1919!  My own gown was modeled from 1978 and a host of other women lent their gowns for the evening's event.  This was ticketed event that includes the fashion show, memorabilia, door prizes and, of course, refreshments to follow.   (You're in Newfoundland and we don't go home without a lunch!)  I thought it would be nice and fitting if there was a wedding cake to serve at this gala event so I volunteered to make one. So I was in the midst of all kinds and flavours of cakes. 

Years ago most wedding cakes were dark fruit cakes but not any more.  The fruit cake is seldom seen at weddings and it seems as if anything goes when it comes to cake flavours and kinds.  The cake I made had a different kind of cake for each tier.  I chose cakes that I successfully made many times before and I knew people enjoyed. (The making of a wedding cake is not the time to experiment with new recipes!) The bottom tier was a Hot Milk Sponge Cake with a strawberry filling.  The middle tier was a Fabulous Fudge Cake with a cherry filling and the top tier was an Apricot Raisin Pound Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting filling.  I think that satisfied everyone's taste buds.

The making and assembling of a wedding cake takes time and patience, especially if you're not a professional baker.  Don't start the day before the wedding or you'll find yourself stressed and worried--maybe pulling your hair out in anxiety.  Make the cakes at least a week before and freeze them until you're ready to fill and decorate.  If you make a mistake or the cakes fall in the oven you'll have plenty of time to remake and bake them.  I made the cakes about two weeks in advance.  Any decorations that have to be piped or moulded ahead of time can also be done well in advance.  Buttercream or Royal Icing roses and other flowers can be made and frozen or air dried.  Fondant or Candy Clay figures or flowers can also be made in advance and left to air dry and then packed in containers ready for Decorating Day. With the cakes baked and  much of the decorations made you can concentrate on the fillings and frostings closer to the wedding day.  

A wedding cake does not have to be elaborately decorated to be admired and enjoyed by the guests.  Sometimes "less is more" especially if one is not an expert cake decorator.  A few simple borders with fresh flowers makes a lovely presentation.  That's how I decorated my own wedding cake in 1978.  I'd show you a picture but I don't have one photo of my wedding cake.  (Oh for a digital camera way back then.)  I've attended a few functions where the cake was almost too pretty to cut with fantastic art work on the outside but inside the cake was as dry as sawdust and totally flavourless.  Ideally, the cake should be pretty on the outside and delicious on the inside.  Happily, most cakes are that way.

A few days before the wedding make the frosting and keep it in the refrigerator or room temperature if recommended.  Most frostings will keep for days.  Just remember to remove it from the fridge the night before so it can come to room temperature.  The day before Decoration Day, make the fillings if they are different from the frosting that will be used on the outside of the cake.  That will give them time to cool and set.  The fillings should be firm enough so they don't squish out the sides of the cake.

Are you ready?  This is going to be long and detailed.  Click on the links for the recipes.


Three Tier Wedding Cake
4 recipes Hot Milk Sponge Cake
1 recipe, 3 layer Fabulous Fudge Cake
½ recipe Apricot Raisin Pound Cake
½ recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
3 recipes The World's Best Swiss Buttercream Frosting
Simple Syrup for moisture, recipe below
Strawberry Cream Cheese Mousse Fillling, recipe below
Sweet Cherry Cream Cheese Ganache Filling, recipe below
Candy Clay Roses, optional.  You can find recipe and directions at Wilton here and here

 These are my makeshift wedding cake pans. 

10-inch cake pan(s)
8-inch cake pan(s)
6-inch cake pan(s)


Cake boards to fit each cake tier.  You may buy these or make them from cardboard or foam 
      core board covered in aluminum foil
Large round cake plate or stand
Large heavy duty straws or doweling 
1 long dowel the height of the cake
Cake topper, ribbons and any other decorations needed, optional


Make the cakes according to the recipes.  Make sure you grease and line each pan for easy removal.

Bottom Layer:  Double the Hot Milk Sponge Cake recipe for each 10-inch cake pan.  You will make the recipe four times altogether.  Each cake will take 50-60 minutes to bake.  Check with a toothpick or cake tester to make sure the cake is baked in the middle.  You may have to lower the temperature the last 15 minutes if the cake is turning too brown.  Cool 15 minutes before turning cake out on wire cake rack.  You will have two 10-inch sponge cakes when finished.  Each cake will be sliced in half to make four layers. You may do this the day you decorate.

Middle Layer:  Make 1 recipe, 3 layer Fabulous Fudge Cake divided into three 8-inch cake pans.  Follow the directions in the recipe.  Check with a toothpick or cake tester to make sure the cake is baked in the middle. Cool 15 minutes before turning cake out on wire cake rack.

Top Layer:  Make ½ recipe Apricot Raisin Pound Cake.  Bake in two 6-inch cake pans or in one deep pan. You can cut a deep cake in two layers after it is cool.  You may not use all the batter.  Bake  two or three cupcakes with the leftover batter.  The two layers will take about 30 minutes.  One deep cake will take at least 45 minutes to bake.  Check with a toothpick or cake tester to make sure the cake is baked in the middle.

When cakes are baked and cooled place on the appropriate cake board.  Divide each layer with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Freeze cakes if not decorating immediately.   Wrap in several layers of plastic wrap before freezing.  Remove cakes from freezer shortly before decorating.  Cakes can be decorated while still partially frozen. 


Simple Syrup
½ cup white sugar
½ cup water

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Cool and store in covered container.  Spread over cake layers before adding the filling.  This will ensure the cakes will remain moist. 


Strawberry Cream Cheese Mousse
3 cups sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
¾ cup white sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 packet plain gelatin
2 tablespoon cold water

Place the strawberries and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.  Lower heat to low and continue barely simmering until the strawberries are reduced in half.   This will take about 1 hour or more.  Do not rush this process as you want to reduce the mixture, not caramelize or burn it. 

In a small bowl, sprinkle the plain gelatin over the cold water.  Let it bloom.  This will take 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the bloomed gelatin into the hot strawberries, mixing well.  Let the strawberries cool and then place in the refrigerator to become cold but not set.

When the strawberries are cold whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks.  DO NOT whip it into butter.  Remove the cream from the mixer bowl and set aside.  Add the room temperature cream cheese and beat until fluffy.  Fold in the whipped cream. Blend well.  Fold in the cold strawberries into the cream cheese mixture.  Mix until well blended. 

Makes enough to fill a four layer 10-inch cake.  

Cook the strawberries and sugar until they have reduced to half.  Stir the gelatin into the hot mixture and chill.


Beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks.  Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Combine the whipped cream and cream cheese.  Fold in the strawberry mixture and blend well.


Refrigerate the Strawberry Cream Cheese Mousse until ready to use.


While you are making the strawberry filling you can also start the cherry filling. 

Sweet Cherry Cream Cheese Ganache Filling
1 cup sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, chopped
¼ cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1⅓ cups chopped dark chocolate bars (I used two 100-gram bars)
½ cup whipping cream
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (half 8 oz package)

Place the cherries and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.  Lower heat to low and continue barely simmering until the cherries are reduced in half.   This will take about 1 hour or more.  Do not rush this process as you want to reduce the mixture, not caramelize or burn it. Remove from heat and add the almond extract.  Let cool to room temperature. 

While the cherries are cooking and cooling make the ganache.  Make sure the chocolate is well chopped into fairly fine pieces.  Place in a heat proof bowl.  Over medium heat, in a small sauce pan, heat the cream until it just starts to boil.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until the chocolate has melted.  Stir until smooth.  This is a very thick ganache and will cool almost solid.  Let cool to room temperature.  It should have solidified and be quite thick and almost solid. 

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the cooled ganache and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the cherry mixture and beat until well blended. 

Makes enough to fill a three layer 8-inch cake.

Cook the cherries and sugar together until reduced to less than half.  You want a thick jam.  Cool to room temperature.

Chop the chocolate fairly fine.  Heat the cream to just boiling and pour over the chocolate.  Let the chocolate melt in the hot cream and then stir until combined.


Whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Beat in the cooled ganache.  When well mixed add the cold cherry mixture.


Refrigerate the Sweet Cherry Cream Cheese Ganache until ready to use.

Assembling and Decorating the Wedding Cake
If you are a gifted and/or a professional baker you may be confident decorating and assembling the cake the morning of the wedding but I wouldn't do that.  I almost had a panic attack trying to finish Peter and Vicki's wedding cake the morning of their wedding.  I now aim to have as much done the day before.  If the cake is large you may have to stack the cake and add a few connecting borders when you get to the reception venue but you should have the main assembly finished the day before.  A completely assembled cake can be very heavy to lift and move so unless the cake is a small one you will have to put the layers together at the hall. So plan accordingly, especially if you are also attending the wedding. 

So let's put this cake together:

If you made the icing several days in advance, Smooth it to remove any air bubbles by remixing it in the stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Fit a pastry bag with a large star or round tip and fill with icing.  You will use this to made a dam around the layers.

Remove the cakes from the freezer about an hour before filling and frosting.  You don't need the cakes completely thawed to start. The bottom layer of each cake should be positioned on the appropriate sized cake board.  Glue the cake to the board with a small amount of icing. 

Split the large sponge cake into 4 layers.  Use a long thin serrated knife or a cake leveler to cut each layer into two thin layers.  Brush or spread simple syrup over each layer.  This ensures you will have a moist cake.  If you have made one deep apricot cake for the top, split that one into two layers.  The chocolate cake recipe is baked in three separate layers. Spread a thin layer of Swiss Butter cream on each layer.  Build up an icing dam around the edge of  the bottom layer.  It should be high enough to hold in any filling. 


Fill the bottom layer with filling. Place the second layer on top and repeat with the dam and filling.  Repeat for each layer, leaving the top layer unfilled.  This is the topping of the cake. The sponge cake will have the strawberry filling, the chocolate cake will have the chocolate filling and the apricot cake will have the cream cheese filling.   Check the cake to make sure it is level.  Hopefully you won't have to do any trimming at this point.  Give the whole cake a thin crumb coat of icing.  This seals in any crumbs that could come loose and show through the finished cake.  Lay the cake in the refrigerator to set the coating.  If you do not have room in the refrigerator place it in the coldest room of your house. (But not the bathroom!)

You will not have to use a dam for the top cake as the cream cheese frosting will not run.  I split the top cake and filled it with the cream cheese frosting before it was frozen.  I also crumb coated with the cream cheese frosting but I gave it a thin layer of the Swiss Buttercream as well. 

When the crumb coat is set proceed to give each layer a nice smooth coating of icing.  Start with the bottom layer.  It may take a little time to get the sides and top smooth but take your time. (I'm not very good at smoothing the icing.)  Don't worry too much about the top of the cake because it won't show.  Use an off-set spatula to smooth the icing.  Place the iced bottom layer on the serving plate and set aside.  Repeat with each cake tier and refrigerate until needed.

This is a cake drum.  Not the stand but the round board with the ribbon.  It is an extra thick cake board.  I made this one with two layers of foam core board with corrugated cardboard sandwiched in between.  I glued the layers together and covered everything with aluminum foil.   The cake drum was placed on the serving plate and the bottom layer of the cake was placed on top of that.

A turntable is an invaluable tool when frosting and decorating a cake.  I make do with a lazy susan.  A damp paper towel or tea towel placed between the turntable and the cake will prevent the cake from slipping about when decorating.

Each cake sits upon the other and needs support so it will not crumble or sink.  To give support I use heavy duty straws to hold up the layers. That way the weight of  each cake is sitting on top of the straws and not on the cake below.  For a three layer cake I use 4 straws in the bottom tier and 3 in the middle tier.  Push the straws into the cake and cut off level with the top of the cake.  Wooden dowels can also be used. 
 
Once the cakes have the straws inserted they may be stacked and decorated. You will also need a wooden dowel to keep the whole cake together.   A sharpened dowel is pushed through the cakes and boards and into the cake drum on the bottom.  I cut the dowel just a little longer than the height of the cake so it will dig into the drum and secure the whole cake.  Finish decorating the sides and top of the cake.

You can find recipe and directions for candy clay roses at Wilton here and here.

 I used a few simple scrolls and and dots for the sides.

A few candy clay roses on top finished the cake nicely.

The cake is ready to transport to the reception.
I hope I don't trip. 

 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gretchen's World's Best Swiss Buttercream Frosting


This is a delicious, addictive frosting that I use on many of the special cakes I make.  Because it's a Swiss Buttercream, it isn't overly sweet as an American Buttercream and can be eaten by the spoonful without any feelings of guilt.  The guilt comes later when stepping on the bathroom scale!  This is different from any other Swiss Buttercream Frosting I've ever made, seen or read about as it incorporates powdered icing sugar into the mix along with the granulated white sugar.  Traditional Swiss Buttercreams do not contain icing sugar or at least I haven't found any that do except for this recipe.  I think the addition of the icing sugar adds more stability and structure to the mix and makes it a versatile icing for frosting, filling and decorating a cake.  

I'd like to give the credit for this recipe to Gretchen Price of the Gretchen's Bakery Blog and the Gretchen's Bakery YouTube Channel.  Gretchen is a fully trained pastry chef who has been sharing her expertise on YouTube for several years.  She also blogs all her recipes and teaching tips for easy access when attempting to duplicate her creations.  Her detailed instructions given with a warm humour brings the world of bakery quality products into the home kitchen.  I'd like to thank Gretchen for graciously giving me permission to use her recipe on my blog.  Please visit her blog and YouTube channel for detailed instructions on the World's Best Swiss Buttercream recipe. 

World's Best Swiss Buttercream Recipe
6 large fresh egg whites or the equivalent in pasteurized egg whites, room temperature
1½ cups white sugar
2 cups icing sugar
¾ cup vegetable shortening like Crisco, room temperature
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste or your favourite flavouring

Place the egg whites and white sugar in the top of a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl sitting over a pan of boiling water.  Whisk or stir constantly until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 140 degrees on a thermometer.  If you are using pasteurized eggs 115 degrees is adequate.  Immediately remove from heat and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until the egg whites have become thick, firm and glossy and holds a stiff peak.  This may take as long as 10 minutes or more. 

While the egg whites are whipping, measure and sift the icing sugar; measure the shortening and butter.  (2 cups of butter is a one pound block or 4 sticks).  Make sure the shortening and butter are soft at room temperature. 

When the egg whites are whipped, add the sifted icing sugar and whip in, starting on low speed and increasing to medium high until all the sugar has been thoroughly mixed in.  


Once the icing sugar has been mixed in add the room temperature shortening and butter.  I like to add the shortening first and then the butter as they don’t always have the same consistency.  I find I get a better mix if I don’t put both in the bowl at the same time.   Add the shortening and the butter in several large additions.  Now add the vanilla and beat in until incorporated.
  
Switch to the paddle attachment and continue mixing on low to medium speed until smooth.

The buttercream can be stored 4 days at room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerated or 2 months in the freezer.  Store in a covered container. 

Makes 6 Cups: Enough to ice 30 cupcakes or fill and generously ice one 8 or 9-inch cake.


Any questions regarding this recipe are answered at
Gretchen's Bakery Blog.


Stirring or whisking constantly, heat the sugar and egg whites to 140 degrees.  The sugar should be completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat immediately and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.  You can see my makeshift double boiler.  A pot of water with a heat proof bowl set on top.


Whip the egg whites until they're thick, glossy and hold a stiff peak.  This will take about 10 minutes or more.

Sift the icing sugar into the egg whites.  Start the mixer on low speed or you'll have a sugar shower.  Once the sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to completely combine.

Once the icing sugar has been mixed in add the room temperature shortening and butter.  I like to add the shortening first.


Soft room temperature butter will be no trouble blending into the egg whites.
Beat in the butter.  You are then supposed to change to the paddle attachment and mix until smooth but you can see that I didn't.  I will remix it with the paddle when I use it.  This lot has been made for a wedding cake.  It will stored for 2 days in a cool room at room temperature. 

Here it is--The World's Best Swiss Buttercream Frosting.  
Creamy, smooth sweetness, waiting to be slathered on a cake.  
(Or you could just eat it with a spoon!)