Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dark Chocolate Truffle Icing Recipe & a Discussion About All Natural Buttercream Icing

I believe in eating food that is all natural, a belief that came about after spending a school year in France and hours in French grocery stores reading ingredient labels.  After comparing those labels to North American ones, I finally determined that a mixture of portion control and all-natural eating was the reason why French women and men were so slender. So my baking - and eating - habits changed after that year.  Now I make cakes and cupcakes as natural as possible.  If a theme is a must, of course some coloured fondant is necessary.  But when it comes to buttercream, why not use the natural flavours of food to colour the cupcakes?

Choose a buttercream recipe that is all natural (and make sure to read your butter label to ensure no artificial flavours or colours have been added). 

Then simply swirl real raspberries into your favourite buttercream recipe to get a brilliant pink colour that is just right for a little girls' birthday party or a girl baby shower.  Don't want the seeds? Simply mash your raspberries through a strainer first, before adding them to the icing mix.

Use real vanilla extract or vanilla bean scrapings for vanilla cupcakes.  No one cares if your cupcakes are not pure white, which they won't be anyway if you are using real butter.  If you really need them to match a wedding cake, then use all natural lard instead of butter (watch out for hydrogenated shortening - lard may not be good for you, but at least it is natural and non-hydrogenated).  For flavour, forget the vanilla and instead, soak the rind of a lemon or lime in your icing sugar for 24 hours before making your icing, which will add a wonderful flavour without any added colour.

Chocolate cupcakes can be a variety of chocolate colours.  If you need them to be dark and as close to black as possible, use a really dark cocoa powder (check websites like www.vanillafoodcompany.ca for Cacao Barry's extra dark chocolate cocoa powder), or simply make a dark chocolate truffle as your icing using 70% or darker chocolate, as per the recipe here:

Dark Chocolate Truffle Icing Recipe:

1. Place 1 cup of whipping cream in a small saucepan on the stovetop on medium heat.

2. When it just about reaches the boiling point, pour it over a bowl of chopped 70% dark chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. 

3. Let set on counter for 6 to 8 hours and use at room temperature.

4. Once it is set (slightly stiff or solid), pipe it onto cupcakes using a piping bag. Warm the bag with your hands or in the microwave for 3 to 5 seconds to make it easier to pipe.

Tip: Don't have piping bags or tips? Simply place your truffle mix into a strong medium or large Ziplock bag and cut a round hole on one of the corners.  Pipe directly onto cupcakes in a circular or squiggly motion to get the look that you want.

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