vanilla and gingerbread buttercreams

Vanilla and Gingerbread Swiss Buttercreams

Today I pulled some of the Whole Wheat Vanilla Mini Cupcakes out of the freezer to top with buttercream. Since it’s that gingerbread-filled season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I knew that some of them would be getting a gingerbread buttercream. After mixing up the recipe for buttercream, it felt a little criminal to do anything to change the smooth, vanilla perfection of the buttercream. But I was too curious to skip the spices.

This was my first time making the Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Cooks Illustrated. I guess it’s similar to a Swiss buttercream — it uses whole eggs (as opposed to just whites), granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and butter. And it is amazing. It’s unbelievable how smooth it gets, especially when compared to an American-style buttercream with confectioners’ sugar.

After mixing it up, I scooped out a bit (enough to frost 6 mini cupcakes) and added the following:

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • approx. 1 tsp molasses

It was grainy at first, but after sitting on the frosted cupcakes for awhile it got a little less so. It’s not as smooth as the plain buttercream, but acceptable. Actually, more than acceptable…quite addictive. I’m trying to figure out what else I can spread this stuff on. Perhaps some sourdough pancakes!