One sweet step at a time.
Over the weekend, I made lemon curd, which was added to the frosting that I blended today. The lemon curd came together in a few lazy minutes, but the frosting required courage, perseverance and faith.
When I first whipped the egg whites, they rose high in mixing bowl as white and fluffy billows. These lovely peaks were crushed when I added my first few chucks of butter, and as I continued tossing in butter chunks, the frosting appeared to morph into cottage cheese. More butter caused it to become soupy. Just as I was wondering if I had sacrificed 9 sticks of butter to a sugary disaster, it reformed itself into beautiful icing. — Thank goodness!
I sampled some of the icing (are you surprised?). It was less sweet than typical buttercream and more delicate in texture. Yum! I believe that powdered sugar provides structure to American buttercream and hence are very sweet. Since meringue-based buttercreams like this one are supported by whipped egg whites, it uses less sugar.
Before finishing the frosting, I experienced with the blackberry filling. The original recipe calls for fresh red raspberries blanketed in frosting and tucked between cake layers. I love the idea of discovering whole berries in the middle of the cake, but my wallet doesn’t like the idea of buying fresh berries in November. I wanted to know if frozen blackberries could be substituted for fresh. A reviewer on Epicurious mentioned that frozen berries release juice and could bleed into the frosting. I wanted to know just how much those berries would ooze, so I placed on frozen berry directly on a splotch of icing. I then drained another berry overnight and placed that one on icing as well.
As you can see, the undrained berry (on the left) stained the icing purple. The drained berry left some juice but not enough to ruin the frosting; however it has a withered appearance from being frozen and thawed. I would not use either berry for decorating the outside of the cake. I had considered draining my frozen berries and tucking them into the buttercream, as stated in the recipe. But I decided against it when I considered that I was using blackberries with large seeds. Nobody wants to eat a seedy cake any more than they want to live in a seedy neighborhood.
Instead, I transformed my frozen blackberries into a puree, using a recipe in The Cake Bible. (I love that book.) Right now, I think each tier of the cake will have four layers, some filled with the puree and some with buttercream.