Meyer Lemon & Beet Buttercream · GF (pretty in pink)
I submitted this recipe as part of my entry into the Cupcake Adventure, so click through for more photos and to read about my entry.
If you use golden beets, the color kind of psychologically enhances the lemon flavor. Totally weird but true. Everyone who tasted the version made with the golden beets commented on the lovely lemony flavor. But when I made it with red beets, people never mentioned the lemon. More on that here.
The fresh color of the beets in the buttercream will fade over time and with light exposure. The cupcakes we didn’t eat on the first day looked pale pink by day two (when we photographed them) and snowy white on day three! You could add a few drops of food coloring to the buttercream to reinforce the beet color, if you like. But either way, serve and consume the cupcakes immediately.
Even beet haters can dig this buttercream, it has a mild and gentle flavor with a subtle earthiness brightened by the lemon. Pair this with chocolate almond stout cake for an unexpected but lovely flavor combo.
7 ounces beets (color is up to you) shredded
1/2 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
8 ounces unsalted butter
5 ounces whites
5 ounces sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
12 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
optional: a few drops of red or yellow food coloring, depending on your beet choice
In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add in the shredded beets and Meyer lemon zest and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the butter begins to bubble. Shut off the heat and allow the beets to “steep” for a half hour.
After a half hour, strain the beet/butter mixture through a colander or cheesecloth into a small bowl, pressing or squeezing hard to extract as much liquid as possible from the remaining solids. You can discard the solids, or reserve them for some savory use.
Now, take the beet butter and set aside until cool.
Combine the egg whites and sugar together in a clean bowl. Create a double boiler by placing a small to medium pot of water on the stove and setting the bowl of whites over it. Turn the heat on medium low.
Whisk frequently to prevent an egg white omelet forming on the sides, but continual mixing isn’t necessary. Whisk the egg/sugar over the pan of water until they’re between 145° and 150°.
If your egg whites are at room temperature, this won’t take very long, maybe just a few minutes. Whites straight from the fridge will take longer.
When the mixture is sufficiently hot, remove from heat, add the salt and use a whisk attachment to whip on medium high speed until the mixture cools completely. It will double in volume and turn snowy white.
Turn the mixer down to medium-low, add in the reserved Meyer lemon juice, then begin adding in the butter one chunk at a time. If you didn’t let your meringue cool enough, this is when you’ll really regret it.
Scrape the bowl down periodically. When you’ve added all of the room temperature butter, add in the beet butter a 1/4 cup at a time. It may look weird and milky, but that’s okay. It will mix up lovely and creamy. Continue beating the mixture until smooth. If you’d like, add in a few drops of red or yellow food coloring to reinforce the color.
It’s best to go ahead and top the cupcakes now, with the buttercream at its creamy best. Otherwise, store the in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days at most. Microwave in bursts to soften the refrigerated buttercream, then whip the soft b’cream until creamy before using.