Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

These tasted even better than they look.

For real. (and since I think they look pretty fabulous, they tasted outstanding!)

And just so you  know, there's an oreo inside the cupcake as well.  For some reason I neglected to get a photo of that.  

This was my first experience making and even tasting Swiss meringue buttercream frosting (SMBF).....to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  

I love American buttercream.  
I don't think it's too sweet (as some people do), and I love it plain or flavored with chocolate or raspberry or almond or strawberry and I love it on just about any flavor of cake.  
And I love the versions of it with cream cheese too.  
My loyalty to American buttercream will never be replaced. 

Swiss meringue buttercream has just over one cup of sugar and two cups of butter (and some egg whites).
Did you catch that?  
With regular buttercream, I use eight cups of sugar to two cups of butter.  
How in the world could a frosting with only one cup of sugar possibly be sweet enough or even taste like anything but just a slab of butter?  

That being said, I had read several recipes in various places and seen people raving that different variations of SMBF were their favorite frostings in the whole wide world....so despite my apprehension that it would be a complete flop, my curiousity got the best of me and I had to know why all these people thought this frosting was so good.  

So I made this recipe for our small group.  And I must say, they were a tremendous hit.  Everyone loved them, and I even got comments on the frosting being "dreamy" and "so smooth" and "light and perfect".  

It truly was.  Overly sweet it was not, but it was definitely a great complement to a sweet cupcake, and the little oreo crumbs in it added a great flavor balance.  

Now, I will say that if you serve the cupcakes just out of the refrigerator, the frosting will taste more like just slightly sweet butter - not terrible, but not great.  But if you have the self-control to let them sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes before eating them, (and believe me, that's easier said than done), it's really worth it.  The frosting softens and lightens up and is so incredibly smooth and satiny and....well, delicious.  

If you've never made SMBF before, I highly recommend this tutorial by Sweetapolita - she breaks it down with beautiful photos and explains the process perfectly.

It is certainly more involved than standard buttercream, much more time consuming, but I recommend that you try it at least once.  You just have to know for yourself whether it's the perfect frosting for you!

Note: I used my favorite cupcake recipe because it makes a large batch and because I love it - turns out it might not have been the best choice because it's a thin batter and the Oreos placed in the bottom of the cupcake liners were supposed to stay at the bottom of the cupcake, but they all floated to the top of the cake batter.  They still tasted amazing....but I think if you use a thicker cake batter (like from a cake mix or maybe another scratch recipe), the cookies will stay on the bottom.  It's up to you.

Also, this cupcake recipe yields 36 cupcakes.  I didn't have enough oreos in one package to get one in the bottom of all the cupcakes and still have enough for the garnishes - so a few cupcakes didn't have the cookies.  

Recipe: inspired by A Cup Full of Cake, frosting adapted from Martha Stewart

3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1-1/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil (canola)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 t. vanilla extract
Chocolate sandwich cookies, tops twisted off and reserved

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; add the hot coffee and let stand a minute or two, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow.  Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, mixing until well blended.  Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low speed  just until incorporated.  
Place an Oreo half (cream side up) in the bottom of each cupcake liner. (If they float to the top, don't worry - they'll still be wonderful!
Divide the batter evenly, filling each about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting: (Read this tutorial.  It made all the difference in my success.)
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 T. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into Tablespoons, room temperature
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
15-20 reserved cookie tops, crushed in blender or a bag
Chocolate sandwich cookies, cut in half for garnish (optional)

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heat proof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips)

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, beat until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.  Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about two minutes.  Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.  Add crushed cookie tops and fold in well.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with a large open star tip.  Garnish with a half cookie, if desired.  Keep at room temperature if serving soon - refrigerate leftovers overnight and bring back to room temp. before serving. 


  1. YUM. Those are gorgeous. I need to try swiss meringue. I've never had it, or made it but I need too. These look gorgeous!

  2. Love, love, love Swiss meringue buttercream. Such a dream to pipe too, isn't it? They look great!

    1. It did pipe beautifully - except I did have some oreo crumbs that were a bit too big and kept clogging up my tip...but that's not the frosting's fault!

  3. These look amazing and very delicious! - over here from BruCrew

  4. Yeah I really love SMBF too. Love your new acronym. And out of the fridge -- yuck! You are def right about that!!!!

  5. These look like they are really tasty!
    Today I´ll make them and then I´ll tell you (:

  6. May i know how do you cut your oreos into halves?

    1. I just used a really sharp knife and cut quickly. The ones that didn't turn out well were happily eaten by my kids! :)

    2. Thank you :) definitely would try this real soon!

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