Monday 20 April 2015

Milk & Honey Chiffon Cupcakes with Rainbow Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I have a request for quite a big batch of cupcakes with rainbow cream. This is my first attempt at cupcakes with cream so pardon my amateurish piping. I still have lots to learn and practice. Presenting my humble attempt, topped with red chiffon hearts!

Here's 2 of them but I actually made more than 50.

The request was for 42 cupcakes but I had more than enough batter so I made extra. My neighbors and kids had the extras and said the cakes were yummy!

I used milk and honey chiffon cake as the cake base because kids who don't take to chocolate or fruity flavours love this flavour.

Milk and honey chiffon cupcakes
Ingredients (makes about 55 mini cupcakes and a 6x6" layer cake):
6 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
85g canola/ vegetable oil
120g milk
30g (1.5 tbs) honey
144g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbs vanilla extract
Red gel food colouring

9 egg whites*
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
90g caster sugar

*You may wish to split the ingredients for the meringue into two equal portions if you wish to bake the cupcakes in two batches.

1. Place a tray of water at the base of the oven (optional) and preheat to 160°C. Do use an oven thermometer. I use it all the time when I bake to ensure consistent bakes. Set the oven rack to second lowest position. Line 6" tray with baking sheet. Dissolve honey in hot milk, set aside to cool.

2. Make egg yolk batter. Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Gradually add oil and whisk until well combined. Gradually add milk with honey and vanilla extract and whisk well. Gradually add in sifted flour, salt and baking powder and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Portion out 3 tsp of egg yolk batter and colour it red.

3. Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the bowl can just be overturned without the meringue sliding out.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Portion out 8 heaping tbs of meringue for the red batter.

5. Fill the tray/ cupcake liners (almost full). Immediately reduce temperature to 150°C. Bake the layer cake for 10 minutes and remove from tray immediately. Bake the cupcakes for 10 minutes at 150°C and reduce temperature to 140°C and bake for another 5 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. I have chosen to use steam baking at lower temperature to make the cake more moist and soft. Increase baking time if your cupcakes are bigger. My flour:liquid ingredient ratio is also pretty low (about 60%) to keep the cupcakes moist and soft as there is no real need for structural stability like large chiffon cakes.

Freshly baked cupcake!

The cupcakes will shrink a little after cooling.

Vanilla swiss meringue buttercream (less sweet)
280g egg whites (about 8 eggs)
200g caster sugar
510g unsalted butter, softened but cool and cut to tablespoon-sized pieces
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs vanilla extract
Gel food colouring

1. Heat about 1" of water in a deep saucepan with low heat. Place egg whites, salt and sugar in a heatproof bowl that can fit over the mouth of the saucepan without the base touching the water. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan. Use a hand whisk or a hand held electric mixer to whisk the egg whites until foamy and temperature reaches 71.1°C and all sugar has dissolved. Be careful to keep moving the egg whites. About 5-6 minutes.

2. Remove bowl from heat. Use an electric mixer and beat the egg whites at high speed until stiff, glossy and cooled to room temperature. About 10 minutes. I place a damp towel under the bowl with a standing fan blowing at the bowl to speed up the cooling process. Use a spatula to scrape off the sides of the bowl now and then to ensure even beating of the egg whites.

Stiff and glossy meringue

3. When the meringue has cooled (I use the candy thermometer to check temperature of meringue deep within the pile), add butter one cube at a time and beat at medium speed. Don't worry if it appears to curdle. Just keep beating and gradually adding each piece of butter until it is well incorporated. Increase speed when all butter has been added and beat for another minute or two until fluffy.

Freshly made basic smbc!

4. Add in lemon juice and vanilla extract in a couple of additions, beating well after each addition until well incorporated.

5. Portion the smbc and colour each portion accordingly. Here's a rough estimate of how much to portion for each colour. I reserved about 75-100g of plain smbc for future use.
Orange: 50g
Yellow: 80g
Green: 130g
Blue: 230g
Purple: 370g

You may prepare the smbc ahead of time and freeze it up to a month.

1. Rewhip the smbc if you use frozen-thawed ones like I did. Transfer into piping bag fitted with a round tip.

2. Pipe each layer, beginning with the largest circle (purple) at the bottom.

3. Top the cupcakes with red hearts cut out from the layer cake with a small heart shaped cutter. You may wish to brush on a bit of simple syrup (1:1 ratio water:sugar) onto the hearts to keep them moist.

Keep refrigerated in airtight container until it is time to serve.

All packed!

It brings a smile to my face when my neighbour sent me photos of her kids enjoying the extra cupcakes that I baked, thanking me and saying that they were yummy :).

My neighbor's kids enjoying the cuppies!

According to another neighbour, the cake with cream was really soft and light and not too sweet. Just nice!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Hi, how do I thaw the frozen SMBC? Do I put on table top room temperature or in fridge a day before? TIA. Marge

    1. You can do both :). Usually I will remove the frozen smbc straight into the mixing bowl to thaw at room temperature with a cling wrap over the bowl as thawed (softened) Smbc tends to stick to the freezer bags

    2. Thanks for your reply. How long does it take to thaw at room temperature? I need to use it very early in the morning. :)

    3. Usually a couple of hours. Perhaps you can put it in the mixing bowl overnight with cling wrap covered. Should soften faster that way so you can have a little more sleep

    4. Sorry to ask again. Put frozen buttercream in the mixing bowl overnight outside fridge?

    5. I wouldn't recommend too many hours outside the fridge. You may place in mixing bowl in the fridge overnight. Early in the morning about an hour plus before you start work, take the mixing bowl with defrosted (but still hard) buttercream out of the fridge. You may want to use a knife to break up the big lump of cream to smaller pieces to help it to soften faster. It should be soft enough to whip with electric mixer within an hour.

    6. Thanks so much for your advice.

      I have gone thru most of your recipes, I realized most of it you used more whites than yolks. May I know what is the reason?

      BTW, I baked gula Melaka chiffon cupcakes using your recipe. It was yummy! Thanks.

    7. We realised that using more whites than yolks yield a much softer and lighter cake than using same number of yolks and whites.

      Glad to hear that you found the cake yummy! Thanks for trying the recipe :)