Flashback to some cupcakes I made a couple weeks ago before the craziness of the Paris move happened!
What do you make for a bridal shower?? I’m a bridesmaid for my friend Catherine’s wedding and since I wasn’t going to be there for most of the festivities I wanted to make something great for the bridal shower. Cupcakes are fun, easy to pass out, relatively easy to transport, and they’re like each person’s mini individual cake! I thought they would be a little less time consuming then wedding themed sugar cookies as well.
I think they should be named Princess cupcakes though because you feel like a Princess eating them! tehe
The inspiration was from Sweetapolita’s Neopolitan Cake and cupcakes. I started with the One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Super easy, rich, and delicious from Martha Stewart. Bake in a cupcake tin without cupcake liners. You want the cake by itself to show the chocolate layers inbetween the buttercream.
Once they’re out of the oven, use a serrated knife to cut them in thirds. I found it was easiest when they weren’t all the way cool because the sides and tops will crisp up just a bit, making it harder to cut.
Make the buttercream while they’re cooling. I’d never made a meringue buttercream before and was up for the challenge! I ended up doubling the recipe because I was a little healthy with the icing the first go around.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 5 large fresh egg whites (150 g)
- 1-1/4 cup (250 g) superfine granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups (340 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Melted bittersweet chocolate (about 1/4 cup)
- frozen or fresh strawberries pureed.
In the bowl of a mixer combine the egg whites and granulated sugar. Set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reaches 160 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, whisk until the egg whites are hot.
Remove from the heat and attach to your electric mixture. Using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until they are thick and glossy and the bottom of the bowl is cool. Switch to a paddle attachment and slowly add the cubes of butter. Add the vanilla and pinch of salt.
Divide buttercream into three bowls.
To make the chocolate buttercream, add the melted chocolate to taste. Make sure the chocolate is warm, not hot.
For the strawberry buttercream, add pureed defrosted strawberries or fresh strawberries to taste and a couple drops of red food coloring.
**** If the buttercream curdles, transfer 1/4 of the buttercream to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave about 10-15 seconds until warm and starting to melt. Slowly add back to the remaining buttercream, while beating, and it will come back together!
I’m fast starting to think that the Champ de Mars is going to become a spot that I go to quite often. It’s just so cool with the Eiffel Tower looming down a pretty view of green lawns. Once the flowers and trees start to bloom, it will be even more gorgeous. Today I had actually set out to go to Les Invalides, Nook in hand, to find a spot to read. Halfway into my journey, I noticed I’d forgotten my super sweet Paris Moleskin that has maps printed in the first half of a discreet black journal. Not wanting to get too too lost, because really I could just jump on the metro and be back where I needed to be, I headed toward the top of the Eiffel tower that I saw in the very near distance. A couple minutes later and I was there, phew, I knew where I was.
I perched myself on a bench on an off shoot of the park not realizing that I was in a prime location for watching the cute little French kids walk home with their parents and nannies. Too cute! A little while later an older couple ambled up to sit on the bench next to me despite several others being open. I think they wanted to discuss my Nook but realized fairly quickly with a blank smile from me that unfortunately I did not speak French. A couple points and a discussion between the husband and wife and confirmation! “Le lee!” Oui! I could feel the bench rumble when the old man spoke. Some quick pantomiming from the older lady when their dog walked up meant- don’t touch! She’ll bite. haha A couple Au revoirs and they were gone several minutes later.
I visited the Cordon Bleu today!! It’s a 20 minute walk from my apartment past lots of grumpy teens that were on their lunch break. I might look for another route that sidesteps the schools depending on my class time. haha The school was so cool! Garbine (another pastry student I met there) and I were greeted by the nicest British guy named Allan. We confirmed our orientation time which I’m glad we did because in the mail it said 9:30am and an email had said 2pm. Allan showed us the “Winter Garden” where there’s lots of tables to hang out in between classes. I commented that it wasn’t very chilly in the “winter garden” tehe but I don’t think Allan heard my awesome joke.
Camembert sandwich for lunch that seemed to be made out of an entire baguette. Garbine had one half, I had the other. Well shoot I should have taken a picture. I ate about half of the half. Appreciated the cheese (excuse me “French” cheese as told to us by the waiter) but had had my fill of bread for the day. haha. The waiter was great! So very nice and so was the manager. Off to a grocery store- fast becoming one of my favorite past times because of the interesting finds, including American sauce? Made of tomatoes, onions, basil (I think), and some other things? I’m thinking mayo too? hmm. weird.
Then to the Louvre! I appreciated it even more than the first time I went in 2007. And guess what??? Free entrance for people under 26 attending a European school. I didn’t have proof yet so I had to pay this time. But awesome!!
Conquered the metro with threeee changes- holler. And stopped by the grocery store on the way home where I did not follow the appropriate protocol but was helped by not one but two different people translating an annoyed clerk’s French. No. 1- I didn’t empty my basket onto the moving conveyor belt before they scanned it. No. deux- Forgot to get stickers for the produce I’d picked up, punched in and printed out by a person who I guess has all these codes memorized in the produce section. I had to pick up just the two items, scurry back against the flow of the line, head to the produce section and get the stickers while everyone waited, but they didn’t seem to mind. No. 3- um not answering what sized reusable bag I wanted? Fortunately the ridiculously nice lady in line behind me translated. The really cool thing was the people that stepped up to help- all so nice and the older lady who helped with the last question said not to worry, there were a lot of foreigners in the area with a big smile. The most expensive item I bought? Crunchy M&Ms…. my favorite which they haven’t had in the states in about 6 years. yess!!
I was asked four times where I was from today, all of which I told Texas. haha yeehaw. I must look foreign or something.
Second day in Paris and I was feeling the jetlag! Woke up at 2am took some Tylenol PM and then back to sleep till around noon or 6am Central time. I missed the market down the street from me, but I did go on a super long walk! A massive circle took me down the Champs de Mars to the Eiffel Tower, where I stopped to snack on a Nutella and Banana Crepe (sooo yummy). Banana in French is spelled the same but with different accents. De nananas is pineapple! That’s a fun one to say. I kept walking north till I got to the Arc de Triomphe, then down the Champs Elysees where I got a cute sweater at Zara (it’s cold!!). Then back south to the Champs de Mars where I people watched for a bit, then to the apartment picking up a baguette along the way. tehe How very French of me! (evil French laugh) I had a big grin smacked on my face all day and kept thinking- oh my gosh, I’m in Paris!!
It took about one crazy year and eight packing attempts but I’m here!!!! Bonjour Paris! The flight went well besides the sniff sniff is that the French person in front of me? I wasn’t able to sleep – fail! So I’m in a little bit of a daze right now but absolutely determined to go to bed around 10pm tonight to beat the jet lag!
Customs was crazy easy- I walked right up, waiting maybe two minutes for the couple in front of me to finish then it was my turn. A quick glance at me and my passport and stamp! I was good to go! Bienvenue! Not even a look at my visa. You get your bags after going through customs (thank goodness) and mine were gosh what seemed like the last bags to come through. Both had “heavy” tags attached. I loaded those puppies on a luggage cart and met Alex right outside the baggage claim to catch out shuttle. I wish I had taken a picture when we were driving in! The driver took us down a long boulevard with the best view of the Eiffel tower!
The apartment is SO cute! Pics coming after I’m fully unpacked. The landlady’s friend met us in the staircase area and showed us around the tiny apartment. She was so glad Alex was there because she had been worried about speaking English with me despite here French to English dictionary which she giggled then showed to me. She’d even stocked the kitchen a bit with a fresh baguette, a bowl of fruit, jam, butter, and juice!
A quick visit to the market where we were so glad the jar of olive oil we dropped was plastic, not glass! And ogled the liver in the meat section and fancy foie gras packaging. Lunch at Les Piquets – a burger for Alex and chorizo stuffed chicken for me (ok maybe more Spanish then French but there’s plenty more times for French food!).
Now I’m just trying not to fall asleep with the soft pitter patter of rain in the background and French jazz on the radio. Must not give in!