Burger Cupcakes

March 27, 2012

Hello! This is Holly here, friend of Miss Tweedle and fellow domestic goddess. 
Here is a picture of us all at my wedding! 
You can see Miss Tweedle and Tom and there's me and my hubby, Ed too!

Ed is obsessed with burgers. He loves all types: big burgers, slider burgers, gourmet burgers, homemade burgers (well, maybe not veggie burgers!). When we travel to new places, he researches that city’s best burger, and then we go there to test it. To date, his favourite burger is at the Shake Shack in NYC. Ed waited two and a half hours in line for our lunch. And I can confirm: It was delicious. 
Ed also gets pretty excited about birthdays, so I every year I look for ways to really knock his socks off. This year, after getting a bit of inspiration from Pinterest, I decided I would surprise him with mini burger cupcakes! It’s been on my secret to-do list for a little while, and I couldn’t have been happier on how they turned out. 

On to the recipe...the blogger who I was inspired by used boxed cake and store bought icing. I love to bake, so I decided I'd compromise and make the vanilla cupcakes and buttercream icing from scratch, but used a boxed brownie for the burger patties.
Firstly, I prepared the brownie mix as per the box, but instead of baking in a 8x8 or 9x9 pan, I used an 8 ½ by 11 pan. This made the brownies the perfect thickness. I baked them at the same temperature, but for only about 2/3 of the directed time. To be sure, check with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, they’re cooked. 
Next, I moved on to the vanilla cupcakes. My Martha Stewart cookbooks are well trusted, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes recipe titled “White Cupcakes”. As the cookbook describes “white cupcakes, made with egg whites only (instead of whole eggs), are very light and delicate.” I wanted to make sure they were as pale as possible, so I thought the egg white option would be perfect since I use farm fresh eggs which have very bright yolks. 

White Cupcakes, pg. 154
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir vanilla into milk.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth.  Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.

3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not over mix).  Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten.  Gently fold the remaining whites in two batches.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.  Firmly tap the tins once on the countertop to release any air bubbles.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.

After I got the cupcakes in the oven, I used a cookie cutter to cut out the brownies for the burger patties. If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, a tuna can would work as a general guide, but you may have to trim down slightly. 
My absolute favourite buttercream is from the Martha Stewart: Baking Handbook.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting, pg 386

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Once I had the icing prepped, I divided it into three bowls and tinted with food coloring. One red for ketchup, one yellow for mustard, and one green for lettuce (or relish, your choice!).  
After the cupcakes had cooled, I sliced them in half and put a patty on each one. Instead of using a pastry bag, I used a small Ziploc bag for each colour of icing, filled the bag with icing and then snipped a small corner of the bag for the piping tip. I piped a bit of each colour on top of the burger patty and then topped it off with the cupcake top. To really make them realistic, I sprinkled a few sesame seeds on top of the “bun”.  

He was blown away by the detail and deliciousness. 

I put a candle in one of them and then: happy birthday surprise! 

I’m not sure that there is a better way to combine my love of baking and his love of burgers!

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