RED VELVET TAKE TWO-
PLUS A MERINGUE EMERGENCY
Killing two birds with one stone. I made these for two birthdays. My husband's boss and one of my co-workers. The request was Red velvet with meringue frosting (my husband's favorite -meringue frosting).
(Side Note: Wait a minute meringue frosting has been my hubby's favorite since childhood? He tells me just NOW that his mom would make it for cakes all the time growing up and it was and is his fav. OK, and I am just now making this frosting for the first time after 5 years of being married to him. How did I not know this and why haven't I made his favorite frosting earlier, me being a baking and cooking enthusiast. Don't you make the favorites of the one's you love first before venturing out into new things? Hummm things to think about. In 20 years of making say... green beans for dinner, will he finally tell me that he HATES greenbeans. My whole world may be shattered. Not sure why I have come across the brilliance of meringue frosting with such tardiness. This is no one's fault, I am simply just observing and pointing out. Anyway, back to more important matters of life...)
Uh oh this is going to be another long one. Sorry.
Here's the thing, Before making the birthday cupcakes I had only made meringue frosting once before, besides these meringue cookies I made once, Miss Scarlet and those were eaten right away after making. I had no idea how this meringue frosting was going to hold up over night. I had no experience with meringue frosting but I wanted to use it because for (1) I had a request for it, (2) cream cheese frosting was too plain, (3) meringue was new to me, I needed to get out my creative antsyness out and (4) It just looks really cool and I wanted to do something different and elegant. There are so many things you can do with meringue.
(The specks in the frosting are the inside of a vanilla bean)
In order to find out if I could really do this frosting and keep it overnight I searched the web and baking blogs to find info on meringue frosting-Didn't find what I was looking for. I decided to e-mail Stef at Cupcake Project and pick her super cupcake genius-brain about meringue(which happens to not be her favorite frosting anyway. She gave me wonderful advice to do a chocolate cream cheese frosting which looked awesome. I was about to do that instead when a little voice in my head said to me "you gotta' do meringue!". So, I posted a bulletin on Chow.com to see if anyone could answer my question there. They gave me lots of advice and different other frosting recipes that would be good with red velvet like a Southern Custard Buttercream which was the original frosting to go on RVC in the 40's and 50's before cream cheese frosting came along later. They told me that Italian Meringue frosting is the most stable of them all and to not store it in the fridge.
I still was not satisfied and secure that meringue frosting would hold out and be alright overnight. At the last minute, I e-mailed Cheryl at Cupcakecake Bakeshop (another super-baker genius). It was her recipe I was planning to use anyway so I should have just e-mailed her before but I was trying not to not bug anyone by e-mailing.
Anyway, here's the important part, she told me that the frosting could be left out-non refrigerated and loosely covered once the cupcakes were frosted. In most cases if you are making cupcakes the night before, you want to make the cupcake and frosting, store separately and frost in the morning or next day. NOT IN THIS CASE. Because if you make meringue frosting (at least this specific recipe) and leave it in it's bowl overnight, it will be wrecked, the meringue will have a top foam with all this liquid at the bottom and will be unusable.
My life was saved. I made the meringue frosting, frosted the cupcakes and was toasting them with my culinary torch when I ran out of butane. It was too late to go get some. I mean, can you believe it? part of the reason I went through the hassle of getting the meringue info and going through the hassle of making the meringue is so I could do toasty things with it. Well, there was a solution, but it's not as fun. You can toast meringue in the broiler for less than a minute and it does the trick.
P.S. You can also caramelize the sugar for our creme brulee in the broiler if you don't have a culinary torch.
I baked mini cupcakes with a strawberry in the middle. The regular cupcakes I filled with chocolate filling and of course had the meringue frosting on top.
Everyone like them especially with the chocolate filling.