I’m not sure how many people are aware of my seemingly never ending battle to make icing. It started a few decades ago trying to make Grandmom’s mocha icing for the coffee chiffon cake. It crept into buttercream icing and glazes. No matter what I tried, which recipes I followed or how many times I tried, icing eluded me. Until recently. Two Christmases ago I mastered the mocha icing for the chiffon cake and now … Cream cheese icing! Ok, it’s not a full buttercream, but when your husband pronounces it perfect and the comment from totally impartial work colleague is “superb,” I think it’s safe to say it is a winner.
After making a roasted butternut squash salad with a lemon tahini vinegrette for dinner (also particularly good) I decided I wanted cupcakes. Really I wanted cake, but cupcakes are cake. So I went with it. I found a recipe and went for it. I separated eggs, whipped butter and sugar, whisked egg whites and gently folded everything together.
I used real vanilla beans, scraping the inside of the bean. This was more than a ‘quality ingredient’ thing – I didn’t have any vanilla extract in the house. I zest end a lemon and carefully filled my tins. While the cup cakes cooked, I worked on the icing. I made half the recipe for each of these, so there is more vanilla and lemon than the original calls for. I used a little less butter than the icing recipe calls for and again used the vanilla bean. I didn’t like the consistency of the icing as I was making it, so I used a lot more confectioners sugar – probably twice the amount. The result, however was a little questionable until I fasted it – it was good. Really good.
Bob called this the best cupcake I have ever made. He asked that I not take the batch to work, but I had to bring one in for one of my bosses; the man has given me enough candy and cookies on stressful days that I owed him one. And who can resist a cupcake?
So after trying to make icing, unsuccessfully, for the better part of two or three decades, I am finally mastering it. I may not be able to grow more than rosemary in Florida, but apparently I can make icing.