These cupcakes have been in my brain for quite some time now, and I thought they would be a perfect opportunity to try out a new frosting that I’ve been wanting to try: Swiss meringue buttercream! I’ve heard horror stories about how you can break the emulsion and that to make this frosting correctly, you need a stand mixer. I do not have a stand mixer, and I was sure I could do it without one. I mean, the Swiss didn’t wait around for the invention of the stand mixer – or even electricity – to develop the frosting, I bet. In the end, the frosting was successful, and is now one of my new favorites :)
I, once again, used a past recipe for the cupcake batter. If you’d like to see step-by-step pictures of the batter-making process, see the original post (linked below):
makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes or 4 dozen minis
- 1 c. cake flour
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1/2 c. baking cocoa
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. cold, brewed coffee
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- Andes mints (about 2 dozen for cupcakes and topping, if you wish)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins or spray with cooking oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cocoa, and sugar.
Make a well in the center and add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil.
Mix until well combined, but not over-mixed. The batter will be thin.
Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. If making full sized cupcakes, push an Andes mint into the center. If making minis, break the mint in half (at least) and insert into batter.
*UPDATE* – When I made mine, I pushed the pieces of Andes mint in so they were covered by the batter and sank down. This resulted in some of the candies sticking to the bottom of the cupcake liner after they sank even more. When you put the candies in, barely set them in the batter to prevent them from sinking TOO much!
Bake for 8-12 minutes for mini cupcakes, 15-20 minutes for regular sized cupcakes, checking often to monitor progress!
Take out of pan and cool on a wire rack.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 egg whites (about 8 tbsp.)
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1 1/2 c. butter (3 sticks), soft and room temperature
- 1 tsp. mint extract
- coloring as desired
Combine the egg whites and sugar in the mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set over a double boiler and simmer, whisking all the time, until it loosens and warms. As soon as the sugar is dissolved and you cannot feel it against your fingers, remove the pan from the heat. DO NOT overheat or else the egg whites will scramble.
Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the egg white/sugar on high until the bowl or pan you heated them in is cool and the mixture forms stiff peaks like a regular meringue.
Cut the butter into squares. With your mixer on medium, add the butter square by square. Make sure each square is mixed in before adding another. Do not set the mixer to high…please keep it at medium. Be patient!!! Keep beating until all of the butter is absorbed and you have reached a more smooth consistency.
This is where I started panicking. With about 1/3 of my butter left, my frosting started to look curdled, like an over-whipped cream (been there, done that, it’s annoying). I had learned from various sources that you can break the emulsion. I had also read that it can look lumpy while adding the butter. I plodded on, telling myself that everything was going to be OK.
Now is the labor intensive part. Switch to a hand-held instrument – spatula or wooden spoon – and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. This will remove any air pockets and smooth out the frosting.
Once the consistency is smooth, add the mint extract. Taste and add more if necessary. Add your coloring to reach a mint green. I used a tiny bit of Kelly Green from my Wilton gel colors. You can use liquid food coloring if you like.
Pipe onto your cupcakes in desired pattern. If you like, shave some Andes mints and add them to the top as extra decoration. Enjoy :)