These delicate cupcakes are guaranteed to impress your guests at spring & summer parties.
Keep reading to find out how to decorate your own floral designs…
FOR THE SOUR CREAM VANILLA CUPCAKES:
120ml whole milk
60ml sour cream
100g cake flour
95g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
FOR THE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
4 large egg whites
265g granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
TO ASSEMBLE & DECORATE
Gel food colouring
Make the buttercream
- Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk them by hand to combine. In a medium saucepan, bring an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the egg mixture, whisking intermittently, until it reaches 70C on a candy thermometer.
- Carefully affix the mixer bowl to the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8-10 mins, until the mixture holds medium-stiff peaks and the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature.
- Turn the mixer down to low and add the vanilla. Add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3-5 mins.
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 175C/gas 3. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix together the milk and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 mins. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 mins. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the flour mixture are combined.
- Using a mechanical ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds of the way full with batter. Bake for 20-24 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Let them cool in their pans for 5-10 mins. Remove the cupcakes from their pans and allow to completely cool on a wire rack before frosting.
- Decorate and serve at room temperature.
Decorating your cupcakes
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with about 255g of the buttercream. Pipe a flat disc shape, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, in the centre of the cupcake.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large curved petal tip with buttercream. Keeping the narrowed side of the tip facing the centre of the cupcake, pipe four fairly flat overlapping strips over the centre of the cupcake. Release the pressure on the bag after each strip before piping the next.
- For the middle row of petals, pipe five petals around the cupcake. Keep the piping bag slightly leaning away from the centre of the cupcake with the narrowed side of the tip always facing up.
- For the outer petals, pipe seven or eight petals around the cupcake. Keep the piping bag at a 45-degree angle leaning away from the centre of the cupcake. Continue to pipe arcs of buttercream to create the ruffled petal shapes.
An odd number of petals per row keeps the peony looking natural.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with about 255g of buttercream. Pipe a cone shape in the centre of the cupcake. The cone should be a little less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a curved petal tip with buttercream. Holding the piping bag perpendicular to the top of the cupcake, pipe interlocking petals on the top of the cone, applying a small amount of pressure to the piping bag and gently pulling straight up for each petal and tapering off the pressure on the bag as you go. Release the pressure on the bag after each petal before piping the next.
- Continue piping interlocking petals until the centre of the cone is covered in five or six petals. Continue piping concentric circles of petals around the centre of the cupcake. As the petals move farther away from the centre of the cupcake, gradually angle the piping bag away from the centre. The outermost petals should be taller and may flare out around the edges. As the petals get taller, they have more of a tendency to flip or curl over, especially if the buttercream becomes too warm. The petals tend to support one another, so keep piping until the cupcake is completely full.
Yellow Blossom Cupcake
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton #104) with buttercream. Keeping the piping bag at a 45-degree angle away from the centre of the cupcake, with the narrowed side of the piping tip facing away from the centre of the cupcake, begin to pipe petals. Starting a little less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the edge of the cupcake, gradually apply pressure to the piping bag while moving it out from the centre and then back in, tapering off the pressure as you return to the centre.
- Continue to pipe petals around the outer edge of the cupcake. Repeat to make a second row of petals, slightly overlapping the first row and angled in toward the centre.
- Pipe a few centre petals, as needed, until the top of the cupcake is completely covered. Sprinkle the centre of the cupcake with sugar pearls.
Icing on the cake by Tessa Huff, published by Abrams