My best friend, Sharon, asked me to make a chocolate cake for her hubby, Ariel, for his birthday last week.
The thing is I know a really good (probably the best) chocolate cake recipe that I usually use to make my mousse cake. But the usual mousse cake I make is probably not the best one in a hot weathered country like the Philippines. Sure we have mousse cakes here but I am just worried about the handling from the time the cake will be picked-up up to the time that it will be served. I am not sure if this delicate cake can handle all that heat…literally! Frankly, I am really hesitant to make anything that involves whipped cream unless I know it can be served cold or directly from a fridge or chiller.
So, the answer: buttercream frosting!
I’ve made American buttercream and Swiss meringue buttercream before. They are both with advantages and disadvantages. American buttercream is the easiest to make but it can be too sweet. On the other hand, swiss meringue is less sweet but can be a little daunting to make. I personally find American buttercream tooth-achingly sweet and I usually end up with a slightly gritty texture (from the powdered sugar) which is fine for other people, some actually like it. But for those people (like me) who are not a big fan of American buttercream, you should definitely try Ermine Icing.
It is also called flour buttercream or cooked frosting. It is light and fluffy and smoother than the classic American Buttercream Frosting. Although it involves a bit more work but definitely easier than Swiss Meringue Frosting. It is simply making a milk pudding and combining it with softened butter. But for my cake, I added cocoa powder to make chocolate frosting. I actually ended up with two variations. The first variation is with cocoa powder added at the end, while with the second, it was added in the beginning to make chocolate pudding. The first variation is great for frosting cakes as it is sturdier and the latter for cupcakes because of its lightness and fluffiness. To me, it is easily the best cupcake frosting.
Above is how your butter should look like after beating it for five minutes.
- 6 Tablespoon All-purpose flour
- 1 cup + 4 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup dutch cocoa powder
- 1 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- 220-226 grams or 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine and sift together the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder in a bowl and mix well. Transfer the mix into a small pot or a saucepan. Add the milk and whisk until dry ingredients are completely dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over low to medium-low heat while stirring constantly to avoid burning the bottom. Once it starts to bubble, just let it cook for another two minutes or until it thickens into a pudding consistency. Then remove from heat, add vanilla extract and continue whisking for another minute.
- Transfer pudding into a shallow bowl and immediately cover with a plastic wrap, press down the plastic wrap until it touches the surface of the pudding. This will prevent it from forming a skin. Put it in the fridge so it can cool down faster if needed or just let cool down on your kitchen counter.
- Once the pudding has cooled, beat the butter using a hand or stand mixer at medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes or until it is pale and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cooled chocolate pudding for 2-3 minutes (Skip step for sturdier frosting mentioned in notes below).
- Add the pudding one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the pudding has been added, mix for another few minutes, until the buttercream looks thick, smooth and creamy.
- Use immediately or store, covered in the fridge, for up to seven days. Before you want to use it, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and mix briefly until smooth and creamy again.
If you prefer a bit sturdier version to use for cakes, add the cocoa powder in the end instead of adding it to the pudding. After you have added all the milk pudding to the creamed butter, sift the cocoa powder and beat the mixture for another 2-3 minutes.
Below is the cake I made using this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe (Variation 1). It is a bit denser and darker than the (cupcake frosting) second variation. This is not the cake I made for Ariel, but since they were so happy with that cake, Sharon asked for a second one for her sister who also recently had her birthday and I had the chance to make a similar one to test my new recipe. This is, by the way, my Bare Chocolate Drip Cake, which I will share on my next post!
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