Today is officially the first day of winter. Well, much to my luck there’s been almost no winter here in Toronto. Apart from a day or two where you could see a couple flurries flying by, the weather is pretty mild.
I don’t know if I’m happy about that or not, given that over these couple days where the temperature was hitting minus something, I was honestly wishing I was living back in Russia. -4°C here feels way worse than -15°C there, way worse. Well, it looks like I’ll need to get used to that anyway.
But I have to be honest, I really like the winter solstice. Not that I particularly like dark, cold days; but if you think about it, from now on, it only gets better. I know the colder months are on their way, but at least in a couple months from now you can get brighter, longer days.
Maybe I’m just crazy. That’s a possibility. But I like to see things on the bright side.
And while we’re all into this “will there be any winter this year or not?” thing, I decided to bake a couple red velvet cupcakes with crisp swiss meringue frosting because YES!
I had the idea for these cupcakes while playing around with the Merveilleux the other day. When I was in Colombia earlier this year, I had this extraordinarily good cupcake in a small bake shop close to where I was staying. It was around Valentine’s Day and they were selling cupcakes almost like this, but topped with hearts and all that.
It took me a while to get that the topping was just swiss meringue (because, well, you know, red velvet cupcakes are almost always paired with cream cheese frosting), but once I got it, I decided I wanted to make it crispier, almost like a huge snowball on top of each cupcake.
So basically, after you top the cupcakes with meringue, you leave them in the oven at 275°F/135°C for about 5 minutes. They will dry lightly on the outside and still be soft (like a normal frosting) in the middle. Absolutely amazing!
Considering how fast they are going away here at home, I’m pretty sure they will be a huge hit during Christmas
- 150 g vegetable oil
- 155 g sugar
- 1 egg
- pinch of powdered vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp red food coloring
- 136 g all purpose flour
- 24 g cornstarch
- 15 g cocoa powder
- 4 g salt
- 120 g buttermilk
- 5 g baking soda
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 70 g egg whites
- 140 g sugar
- Pre heat your oven to 375°F/180°C.
- Mix oil, sugar, egg, vanilla and red food coloring in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet one, alternating with buttermilk in about three additions.
- Then, mix the baking soda with vinegar in a tall glass (since it will bubble) and add it to the batter. Mix until incorporated.
- Divide the batter into muffin lined pans, taking care to fill them only halfway through (otherwise the final result will look weird).
- Bake them for about 15 minutes or until baked all the way through.
- Leave them to cool in a wire rack before frosting.
- In a medium pot over a bain marie, cook the sugar and the egg whites to 50°C, whisking frequently.
- Once the temperature has been reached, remove from heat and whisk with a hand mixer until the meringue is thickened and comes to room temperature (about 5 minutes).
- With a round tip (I used #10, but 1A from Wilton is just as fine), pipe a large blob of meringue on top of each cupcake.
- Leave it to dry in the oven, preheated at 275°F/135°C for about 5 minutes. It should be dry on the outside but still soft in the middle.