My mom didn't spend much time in the kitchen when I was a kid. But that all changed whenever somebody's birthday rolled around: That woman can bake one helluva cake, let me tell you what! And even better, she can decorate it with professional-looking frosting flowers. What Mom can't do with one of those icing tube thingies that has the tips in all different shapes and sizes!
As you can tell from my very non-technical terminology usage right there, I did not exactly follow in my mother's fancy footsteps. But today is a new day, and I am no longer intimidated by memories of her perfect icing blooms ... because it turns out there are awesome tutorials on YouTube I can watch to learn how to make my own! You can too! (And if you use this no-fail Martha Stewart recipe for Devil's Food Cupcakes, they'll taste so good nobody will care if they're a little messy.)
Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler. Set over pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, remove from heat, and stir occasionally until cooled. Set aside.
Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until the mixture feels hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high until cooled, about 15 minutes.
Add butter pieces, one at a time, stirring constantly until incorporated. Add melted, cooled chocolate, and stir well. Use the buttercream immediately, or transfer to airtight container, and refrigerate up to one week. Bring the buttercream to room temperature, and stir with rubber spatula before using.
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Image via Maybe Strawberry/Flickr