This was a recipe that definitely caught my eye. As an avid chocolate lover, I believe I even exclaimed while devouring this cake, “I could forget chocolate forever if I got to eat this everyday!” (Andrew’s Note: You have no idea how big of a deal this would be for Nicole – she loves chocolate THAT much…) The laughing bouts of hysteria from how delicious this buttercream tasted entertained my husband and made me forget my worries for at least a few minutes.
Now, that’s a good buttercream and definitely a recipe worth making.
I can’t say this was the easiest recipe. Toasting anything in a pan is always anxiety-provoking; a second too long and it seems you have little chunks of burned charcoal speckled in your sweet dessert. The buttercream also made me nervous, as it changes consistency quickly and often as you add ingredients, but it worked, and let’s face it, I was a ball of nerves this week so the baking process wasn’t easy.
Originally, I spotted the recipe one day when I was sucked into paging through a bunch of Rick Bayless’ recipes. I’ve always loved his use of authentic flavors, so this captured my interest – and with the passion fruit element, I knew I could share the dessert with Andrew….who isn’t as dependent on the daily chocolate fix that I require.
No lie, I actually ate the leftovers of the recipe at home…by making a few cupcakes and half a 6″ cake covered in buttercream.
The actual cake was made and delivered to congratulate a new neighborhood restaurant chef! Hence the logo on the cake! (check them out at http://www.pangeaworldfusion.com)
Andrew often encourages me to share my “gift,” but I don’t necessarily think of it as a gift. More selfishly, I am always wanting to try new recipes and need some other people to help us enjoy all this food!
Regardless, I baked three 6-inch layer cakes and a few cupcakes from this recipe and brought the layer cake with the new logo of the restaurant on top made of edible sugar paper to our new friends as a congratulatory “Happy-full-time-new-restaurant-you-never-have-to-go-back-to-your-old-job-again!”
In order to make the buttercream, I did have to track down passion fruit puree. If, like us, you aren’t living in a tropical paradise where inexpensive passion fruit abounds, you can often it frozen at a local Mexican market.
Another plug for shopping your local markets: ours are fantastic! Upon walking in, this one had the best-smelling, authentic tacos cooking for lunch. It had old school checkered table cloths and basic framed chairs. It’s perfect though, and I need to go back to eat lunch there with Andrew – probably the most adventurous eater you’ll ever meet.
Every time we’re somewhere like this, he convinces me to get the “craziest thing” on the menu (even if that’s “Tacos de Lengua”). I give him “skeptical face,” proceed to order it anyway, and it’s always delicious. Just wait.
Back on topic, make these cupcakes. They are the best cupcake/cake I’ve ever eaten. I thought while eating these….this is what heaven is made of…..or maybe…this is what all wedding cakes SHOULD be made of. They really are that good. And, I’m pretty sure the buttercream could go on everything.
- 10 1/2 ounces AP flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter – softened
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sour cream – if you’ve got real “Crema Agria” use it!
- ¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (To toast, place sauté pan over medium heat and stir constantly until golden brown. About 4 minutes.)
Passion Fruit Buttercream Frosting
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 pound butter, softened, each stick cut into quarters
- ½ cup passion fruit puree
- 4 ounces white chocolate, melted, cooled to room temperature (Microwave in bowl on defrost 10-30 second intervals and stir. Do this in 2-3 rounds and stir it a lot and let it sit. Repeat as necessary but going slow here is the trick).
To make the Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a mixer, combine the sugar and softened butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (wait for your husband about 15 minutes here to return from the store with the coconut milk you thought you had). Add the coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium low until smooth. Do not overmix batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the toasted coconut.
If making cupcakes….fill the cupcake liners ¾ the way full. This recipe doesn’t rise as much as some other cupcake recipes out there.
If making 6 in cake rounds, butter bottom of cake pan, insert round of parchment cut to same size and butter top of parchment and sides of cake pan. Place handful of flour in pan and use other hand to bump pan to spread flour over bottom and sides of pain. Drop out excess flour into sink or trash can. Fill pan 2/3 full of batter.
Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. The cake rounds take far longer to bake….about 50 minutes, I believe. I baked them until a toothpick came out clean and they no longer jiggled.
Interesting side note here-I forgot to flour the last cake round and only used butter. The cake still rose in the oven but almost looked as though it stuck to the sides and sunk a little before coming back up in the middle (it had a small lip around the edges.) Tasted the same, but interesting note about how the flour actually effects the rise of the cake.
To make the Buttercream
Combine the eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl from an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly, but gently to heat the mixture until it registers 160 degrees (it gets there pretty quickly).
Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the mixture on medium high speed with the whisk attachment until light and cooled to room temperature (takes a longer time than I thought). The bottom of the bowl should be (relatively) cool to the touch. Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter one piece at a time. *This is where I got scared. The foaminess completely disappears and you almost get a sheen to the buttercream at this point….but just keep going.
Once all the butter has been added, pour in the melted white chocolate, then the passion fruit puree. When incorporated, raise the speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use – BUT NOT TOO LONG otherwise the butter will seize back up and you’ll have to wait until it softens again to frost/ice your cake(s)!
Frost the cupcakes or cake and enjoy!
oh, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for eating a spoonful of the buttercream. Or five.