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Sunday, December 19, 2010

HCB Free Choice: Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream and Whoopie Pie

Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream

I had some free time this weekend, so I thought I'd play catch up on the cakes I've missed. Here is Spice (Cup)Cakes with Peanut Buttercream.

As usual, I made 1/2 recipes and felt like making cupcakes. By the way, I'm beginning to think that I am developing an addiction to cupcake shapes. A few months go by and I haven't made cupcake and I would miss it.

This cake is super easy to make. The hardest part about it is sifting all the dry ingredients. I'm not a big fan of sifting, but it's not a step that I'd dare skipping. As I was prepping the ingredients, I thought of Hanaa. Why? Because Hanaa is one HCB who loves to add spices to her cakes, and this cake has both cinnamon and cloves. A quick search on her blog, and I found that she's made this cake back in September, and added ground nutmeg, ginger, and all spice. Hanaa, I wish I have your courage of playing with spices in cakes.

The buttercream is also super easy. At first I was dreading it when I read this cake uses buttercream. I haven't made buttercream for a while, and the last couple times I made mousseline, they curdled. No chance of that happening with this one. Nothing could be easier than having to combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Since the cake was so easy, I thought I had a bit of fun decorating it.

Tasting impression:
The cake is really good, soft, tender, and light. The buttercream I am not so sure of. I like the peanut flavor but combined with the cream cheese and butter, it taste too creamy. After I ate one, I feel like I would not be hungry for hours. I know it's my fault, 1/2 recipe of cupcakes to 1 recipe of buttercream. It is not an even distribution. But even if it's 1:1, I am not sure I like the taste combo very much.

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

For this recipe, I made the buttercream first. Rose said in the book that once you're done, to congratulate yourself for making the perfect buttercream. Somehow that makes me think that this buttercream must be hard. True enough, somewhere she said it's similar to mousseline. Uh oh. So I made it first, thinking that if it didn't turn out, then I wouldn't even bother to make the whoopie cakes.

It all started out so well. I combined the sugar, water, and corn syrup over low heat until the sugar dissolved and the mixture started bubbling. Took it off the heat and proceeded to beat the egg whites with a hand mixer. Added cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks. Put the sugar mixture back on the heat and boil until it reached 248 degrees. Then poured it onto the egg whites while mixing. Btw, is it just me or is it always fascinating to see egg whites change texture into the smooth, shiny, and silky meringue.

So far so good....

Once the meringue is cooled, Rose tells you to beat butter and powdered sugar until it's smooth, creamy, and white. Added the meringue and this is the part where I messed it up. Rose said to beat for 10 seconds until combined. I beat a bit too long, about 30 seconds, and the cream curdled a bit.


Ok, deep breath, let's taste it.

Taste fine so I made the pies.

I remembered from reading all the HCB who made this that the pie turned out so big. Keeping that in mind, I measured 20 grams (instead of the 40-something grams per instruction).

The result?

I think it's still too big. I'd prefer to make this somewhat bite size, as in, I can eat it in a couple of bites. So maybe next time I would try 15 grams.

Tasting impressions:
Yum!  It is so good. The marshmallow cream is super yummy and combined with the pies it is awesome. As I am typing this sentence I took the last bite of the one pictured about (with all the Xmas tree sugar around it). I am still not hungry from the Spice cupcakes 2 hours ago, but I gotta have a whoopie pie! (I think tonight's dinner will be a very small salad...)


  1. ב''ה

    That peanut butter cream looks appetizing. Good to know about your measurements for the whoopie pie.

  2. Jenn, both of those look so good. It's nice to know what you thought of the peanut buttercream. I've made the spice cake but never with that icing. I've made it with the dreamy creamy white chocolate frosting. I love that combination. Your woopie pies look so cute with the sprinkles!

  3. I'm with you on the spice cake/ peanut buttercream: separately they're good, the combo just didn't work for me. Christmas sprinkles on the Whoopie Pies is a great idea!

  4. good for you playing catch up! i love the christmas sprinkles around the edges of your whoopie pies. at first i thought your cupcakes were encircled in chocolate but now i see they are the cupcake liners. i haven't tried the spice cake with the peanut buttercrean but used the frosting on a chocolate cake with great success.

  5. You been been a busy bee! Love the decoration on both of your choices this week. And never, ever be afraid of spices... they make everything better.. sort of like Nutella.

  6. I love how you decorated the whoopie about big..mine was mega size because i read wrongly..LOL! Love the pretty swirls on your cupcakes too! :D

  7. The cupcakes are adorable!! Like Monica said, spices are nothing to be afraid of. They simply make everything better :o) I can't eat PB so I didn't make that frosting. I can imagine it tasting good with a choc cake, not sure about the spice cake combo. The whoopie pies look super cute. You can't tell there's anything wrong with the frosting

    Have you made Rose's Choc Meringue Frosting from RHC before? I'm having trouble understanding the instructions. I also wonder if I can go about making it a different way (a method that many other cookbook authors use): heat egg whites + sugar over a double boiler. Whip until stiff peaks, then add butter. No finicky hot syrup needed. Thanks for your thought on this!

  8. It's the choc egg-white buttercream frosting on page 302.

  9. Thank Jenn. No sugar syrup, huh? Maybe there’s no sugar in the recipe. I will have to re-read those instructions. You do make it sound very easy. I guess what threw me off was beating the egg whites and butter separately because normally you don’t need to beat the butter. I’m considering using that frosting to spread over a Yule log: a choc sponge cake from TCB filled with whipped ganache.

  10. No sugar syrup. Sounds good. Thanks again!!
    Yes, I will be making meringue mushrooms too. If I have time I’d like to make the cheesecake as well. As you probably know by now, in baking I love using spices but I also love using sour cream. With 3 cups of sour cream in one cheesecake, I’m more than “just” intrigued, ha ha.
    I’ll to try to post the Yule log. I always take pictures of everything but only about 1/3 actually makes it onto my blog, ha ha.

  11. I'll try to post it. Otherwise, I can always email you the picture. Just email me at HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com so I'll have your email address, if you like. I won't be making it until Saturday though.

  12. Love both but the Christmas whoopie pies are wonderful and great fun! I still haven't made whoopie pies but yours look so delicious you have me sorely tempted! Wonderful!


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