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German Cream Cheese Buttercream aka Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

German Cream Cheese Buttercream aka Best-Ever Cream Cheese FrostingThings have been a little heavy here lately.

And we need to have a serious talk about frosting. Because it pains me when people say they don’t like frosting.

We can't be friends if you don't like frosting
via someecards

True story: I feel this way.

You have been fed a lot of bad frosting in your life. Heck, some of you even like it. (If you didn’t Betty Crocker wouldn’t have half an aisle in the grocery store filled with cans of the stuff). But that, and dreadful american buttercream (powdered sugar + butter + vanilla + milk) give frosting a bad rap.

But to just totally eliminate an entire category of pastry toppings because you don’t like the super-sweet, slightly gritty, dries out when left out kind? That would be like saying you don’t like any cake because you don’t like yellow cake.

You have heard of SMB (Swiss Merengue Buttercream) and a pastry chef friend of mine prefers the Italian Merengue Buttercream. Most bakers are familiar with American Buttercream (see above). But there is French Buttercream. And German Buttercream.

What does all that mean?

  • American Buttercream – The powdered sugar frosting we have all had a gazillion times. It is common because it is incredibly easy and fast. It stands up well to the elements (it doesn’t melt, it stiffens a little so it isn’t as delicate)
  • Swiss Merengue Buttercream (SMB) – Made from a cooked egg white & sugar mixture, this frosting is made by whipping the cooked whites and sugar, whipping them into a merengue and then adding butter and flavorings. It is the frosting technique that I use the most and makes a light & fluffy frosting.
  • Italian Merengue Buttercream – Similar to SMB, this is a merengue frosting, but instead of cooking the whites, you beat a hot sugar syrup into the egg whites.
  • French Buttercream – Instead of egg whites, a hot sugar syrup is beat into egg yolks and then combined with butter. This stuff is rich and incredibly decadent.
  • German Buttercream – You start with pastry cream, beat it and add butter. You can thank me later for introducing you to this.

This is German Cream Cheese Buttercream. And it is a dream.

It isn’t the best for piping pretty designs, but it really will rock your socks. (I might have overheard someone in the office compare it to ice cream that wouldn’t melt). That’s the thing with frosting.

Feed the frosting naysayers this. You will rock their socks hard core.

Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
This recipe was adapted from [url href=”http://bravetart.com/recipes/GermanButtercream”]Brave Tart[/url] & [url href=”http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/2292-the-original-red-wine-velvet-cake-recipe”]Gilt Taste[/url]. It makes enough to frost & fill a 3 layer cake and pipe a decorative border or to decorate 48 cupcakes. This frosting will pipe simple designs like the one in the photo, but intricate piping techniques won’t hold up.
  • 16 ounces whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 10 ounces sugar (1¼ cups, by volume)
  • 1½ ounces cornstarch (6 tablespoons by volume)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and yolks in a medium bowl.
  2. Temper the egg mixture by whisking about a half cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture—it will be quite thick but while you whisk, it will loosen as the milk incorporates. Whisk in a little more hot milk until the egg mixture is fluid and warm. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot of hot milk with the heat set to medium and keep whisking.
  3. Once the mixture starts to thicken and bubble sluggishly, continue whisking and cooking for a minute more, then remove from heat and pour into a bowl.
  4. Put the custard in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment and beat the custard for a few minutes, until it has cooled to room temperature and is creamy.
  5. Whip in the cream cheese, one tablespoon at a time, until it has fully incorporated. Then repeat with the butter. Add the salt and beat for about a minute more.
  6. Chill for about 15 minutes before using, if you want to be able to pipe with it.

You can make this a regular german buttercream by swapping the cream cheese for an equal amount of butter



gluten free white cupcake recipe

A very happy birthday treat

gluten free white cupcake recipe

Let’s celebrate.

There are always excuses not to. Maybe there is no money. Maybe you are sad. Maybe you are sick. Maybe you are just grumpy & miserly and don’t ever want to have fun (it’s ok, sometimes even I feel that way).

I have as many reasons as the next guy to not want to celebrate. I can’t find the strength to get to the gym. Real pants make me want to cry. An ill-timed night out with friends can ruin my life for a month. But those are the absolute wrong things to focus on. They can give you grey hair before your time. And we all know that would just lead to more fretting.

And you know, girls just wanna have fun.

So really, let’s celebrate.

Have a party. I mean, heck, it was a birthday after all.

We can throw a little party with a few dozen cupcakes.

Cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

And maybe a few sprinkles thrown in the batter for good measure.

And maybe some balloons. Balloons are good for a birthday.

Happy 32nd birthday Kurt!
Balloons are always appropriate

It is good to celebrate.

And don’t forget to smile, it’ll do you good. And maybe eat a cupcake. Because cupcakes are theraputic.


Gluten Free White Cupcakes

Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 48
My favorite white cake recipe made into cupcakes with a simple chocolate frosting. Add GF sprinkles to the batter for a “funfetti” feel. This is adapted from the Cake Bible’s White Velvet Cake recipe. This recipe makes 48 cupcakes, a 4-layer 8″ cake or a 3 layer 9″ cake.
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) milk at room temperature
  • 7 large (210 grams) egg whites (pasteurized are fine), at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 460 grams ( 3 1/4 cups) gluten free all purpose flour*
  • 2 teaspoons xantham gum**
  • 450 grams (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 7 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 85 grams (6 tablespoons) vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup gluten-free sprinkles (optional)
  • 1 Recipe Easy Chocolate Frosting (below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cupcake tins with papers (if you have 4, by all means line them all), grease the tops of the pans and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the mil, the egg whites, egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients including the sugar on low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add butter & shortening and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the remaining milk and stir untill just moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for a minute and a half.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 groups, scraping down the sides before each addition.
  6. Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the cupcake papers, making sure that none of them are more than 2/3 full (or you could have a little bit of a mess).
  7. Bake 2 trays at a time for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*I use Cup4Cup gluten free flour in my kitchen, and it is my favorite, but I have also had good experiences with the following: Jules Nearly Normal Flour, Better Batter All-Purpose flour or King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free All Purpose Blend.

**If your blend has xantham gum or expandex in it, you can omit this.

Easy Chocolate Frosting

Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 30 mins
An easy chocolate frosting that you can adapt to be as firm or as soft as you like.
  • 340 grams (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 150 grams (1 3/4 cups) cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, the dark helps cut the sweetness a little bit)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 225 grams (1 cup or 2 sticks) butter
  • 565 grams (2 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first amount of powdered sugar and the cocoa.
  2. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly so the milk does not scald. Whisk this into the powdered sugar mixture. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 mins.
  3. Beat soft butter, vanilla extract and salt until creamy. Add the 2½ cups of powdered sugar and mix slowly until incorporated. With mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture a spoonful at a time.
  4. If the frosting is too loose, add up to an additional half cup of powdered sugar.
  5. This makes enough to frost a layer cake or put a good amount on 48 cupcakes (see photo for how much I used per cupcake)
gluten free chocolate chip cookie sandwiches

Birthdays deserve special treats

gluten free chocolate chip cookie sandwiches

Birthdays really do deserve special treats.

Not boring, normal things.

Not something that you make to cheer yourself up when you are feeling blue. (Don’t tell me you never baked to make yourself feel better).

Birthdays deserve a little extra something.

A chocolate chip cookie might be a classic, but it is not what birthdays are made of.

It was almost a challenge. I promised my friend Matt a treat for his birthday. But it couldn’t be a normal treat, he already has had gluten-free birthday cake doughnuts and a red velvet cake.

But, he asked for chocolate chip cookies.

I couldn’t just bake cookies. That is too simple. Too easy. Not a big enough challenge. Not enough opportunity to impress people with ma skillz. (No, that is not a typo. I am trying to be cool. How is it working?)

more cookie sandwiches

Cookie sandwiches on the other hand are a much more exciting treat. Almost like an ice cream sandwich that doesn’t melt. Brilliant for when you have to commute with these bad boys to the city.

These were quite the hit with Matt & his coworkers. (And the extras were a hit with mine). So next time you need to impress someone who asks for just a chocolate chip cookie, this could be your answer.

Birthdays deserve special treats
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 60 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
Serves: 24
What is better than chocolate chip cookies? Chocolate chip sandwich cookies. Like an ice cream sandwich that doesn’t melt. It is brilliant. They do take a couple hours from start to finish, but you can make the frosting while the cookies bake – as long as you let the cookies cool completely before piping on the frosting.
  • 1 recipe [url href=”http://frannycakes.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-a-classic-treat/”]Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies[/url] using tablespoon sized scoops
  • 4 large egg whites (30g each–total 120g, or 1/2 cup)*
  • 200 grams (1 cups) granulated sugar
  • 280 grams (2.5 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150 grams (about 3/4 cups of discs) high quality chocolate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  1. Bake the cookies, using tablespoon sized drops of cookie dough.
  2. While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. If this process intimidates you, Sweet Apolita made a pretty sweet tutorial.
  3. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a small pot until they reach 140 degrees fahrenheit.
  4. Transfer to a clean stand mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat until light and fluffy (soft peaks).
  5. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter one chunk at a time until it is all combined.
  6. Remove half of the frosting and set aside. Melt the chocolate in the micorwave on half power, heating it first for 30 seconds, and then in 15 second intervals after that, always stirring after each burst of heat. Let the chocolate cool a wee bit – you don’t want it hot so that it melts the butter, and then add it to half your frosting.
  7. Set this frosting aside. Add the vanilla bean paste to the reserved half of the frosting.
  8. When the cookies are completely cool, pipe frosting onto half of the cookies, topping with a similarly shaped partner cookie.



gluten free birthday cake

Classic Birthday Cake

gluten free birthday cakeI spent the afternoon baking today. I made 2 loaves of bread and a birthday cake for my little sister. I made yellow cake from a closely guarded secret family recipe (it is at the end of this post). I have made this cake before with lots of success. It is everything a yellow cake should be – rich and moist with a delicate crumb.

I tried it with a new AP flour blend that my parents had at their house, where I was this weekend for a wedding, my sister’s birthday and a trip to the annual Wilton tent sale. This blend is not one I will buy or use again, because it does not actually work cup for cup. And I know that for most people, a cup for cup blend is the least scary approach to baking. So, here is a recipe that my family has been making for quite a while, copied from the sheet where my mom has it written down.

At least now that it is frosted it looks good. And, the frosting makes it super delicious. (Ok, so I eat cake for the frosting).

Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 12
A classic yellow cake with delicious chocolate frosting.
  • 3 cups Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or 13 1/2 ounces of your own blend
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Jules’ Nearly Normal Flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup room-temperature milk
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened natural cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or use chocolate extract if you have it)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 8″ round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the flour or flour blend and xanthan gum.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the sugar, soft butter, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth. Add 2 eggs, and beat for about a minute at a high speed, until fluffy.
  4. Scrape the bowl and beat in the other 2 eggs.
  5. Beat in the milk and flour alternately (adding about a third of each at a time).
  6. Separate the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for about 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out of the pan to cool on a rack.
  8. Once the cake is cool, you can make the frosting.
  9. Sift together the 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar with the cocoa.
  10. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly so the milk does not scald. Whisk this into the powdered sugar mixture. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 mins.
  11. Beat soft butter, vanilla extract and salt until creamy. Add the 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix slowly until incorporated. With mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture a spoonful at a time.
  12. If the frosting is too loose, add up to an additional half cup of powdered sugar.
  13. Frost the cake and enjoy.
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