My mom took a lot of classes when we were growing up in the 70s. Our house was full of macramé plant hangers and wall hangings and Christmas decorations. We had Santa and all of his eight reindeer and Rudoph. There was cast pottery painted by numbers—smaller pieces plus a huge barn scene that hung in our family room above the mantel. And there was a parade of decorated cakes. My mom bought shortening by the five-gallon bucket and would practice making roses in the kitchen on a little metal flower nails. They were beautiful but, blech, watching shortening, sugar, and dye being mixed ended my frosting eating days. I still remember her asking me what I thought I had been eating whenever we ordered a bakery cake. It was a seminal moment; frosting faded from magical to an adumbration, and all the rainbow-colored foods of childhood suddenly seemed too good to be true. The rising popularity of true buttercream 20 years later didn’t help much. I couldn’t wrap my head around eating that much whipped butter and sugar either.
This is a frosting that has even me feeling lickerish. It brings me back to the 80s, when white chocolate was having its moment, before we sorted out that white chocolate, well, wasn’t really chocolate. Real white chocolate is made with cocoa butter, a product of the chocolate making process, but it does not contain chocolate liquor, or ground roasted cocoa beans, which characterize chocolate. Since my Honey Girl isn’t a conventional chocolate lover, I usually try to make something fruity or white for her on Valentine’s Day. She would love these cupcakes. The frosting is a creamy whipped ganache which substitutes sour cream for heavy cream. Flecked with vanilla bean and laced with a little rum, it might even restore my faith in frosting. I wish I could mail off these cupcakes to her at college in a pink care package.
White Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
I don’t know whom to credit for this recipe. It’s online on three sites identically without any attribution. Thank you to whoever developed the recipe.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
2 c. all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur.)
1 2/3 c. sugar
¼ t. salt
4 oz. high quality white chocolate beads or bar, cut into shards (I used E. Guittard.)
½ c. water
½ c. unsalted butter
1 c. sour cream, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
1 ½ t. baking soda
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter and water. Allow it to cool slightly.
- Add the melted chocolate to the flour and mix until combined.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla, baking soda, and eggs and beat for 2 minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly into your cupcake pans and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
White Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting with Rum and Vanilla
Adapted from E. Guittard
Yield: enough to modestly frost a dozen cupcakes
1 pound high quality white chocolate beads or bar, cut into shards (I used E. Guittard.)
½ c. sour cream
1 t. dark rum
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Place all of the ingredients into a double boiler over low heat and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Remove the vanilla bean, and refrigerate until it is firm, about two hours.
- Whip the frosting with an electric beater on high speed until it is fluffy and creamy.
- To frost the cupcakes, fill a pastry bag or kitchen storage bag with the frosting. Use any decorative tip you prefer on the pastry bag; snip off the tip of the kitchen storage bag. Pipe a modest amount of frosting onto each cupcake in a swirling pattern, beginning at the center of the cupcake and working your way in concentric circles toward the outside.