Next to the last cake of the RHC bake through! It's sort of a repeat--we made the white velvet butter cake with a milk chocolate ganache in January, and I made the Golden Neoclassic Buttercream way back in November 2009, when I substituted it for the more complicated Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream on the Pumpkin Cake. I didn't have good luck with the buttercream then, so I was glad to take another crack at it.
The cake is on the quick-and-easy list in the back of the book and deserves it. I even volunteered to make a second round for my sister-in-law's end-of-the-year party for her students--I'd promised her the first batch anyway, and she needed one more recipe's worth. I then prepared the buttercream as one doubled batch, and which I can't call it "quick and easy", things went much smoother than that first attempt early in the bake-through. This cake and frosting is a nice pairing, too, because the cake needs 3 egg whites and the buttercream takes the 3 yolks.
For the buttercream: I dug out my Lyle's golden syrup which gives a nice flavor and a faint yellow-gold tint to the finished frosting,enhancing the faint cream color of the butter. I added lemon oil which is one of the suggested variation, and it's a nice level of lemon flavor--not overwhelming, but definitely there.
I took the advice of other HCB'ers and reduced my batter-per-cupcake amount, though I should have gone a little further with it. I ended up with most cupcates at 45+ grams in the first batch, and got mushroom tops again if smaller than the last time. Some were lopsided as if the batter rose then had a small collapse to one side. The second batch was 42-43 grams each, and those came out flat topped, level with the tops of the cupcake papers. Incidentally, these pretty cupcake papers have a problem: they peel themselves off the cupcakes about a third of the time. I may not use the rest of them. Maybe that's why they were on sale....
I frosted the first few trying to spread with an offset spatula, but found it was very easy to pull the browned crust off the top of the cupcake when spreading even though the buttercream was very soft. I then went to a hurried splat from a pastry bag, and younger niece added an assortment of sprinkles for the middle-school party. Oh, plus one left-over purchased rose from the Miette's Tomboy.
Tasting: I like this better than either component in my first attempt at them. The cake was light and not dry, and the buttercream, eaten when freshly made, was soft and lightly lemony and didn't have the "I'm just eating butter on a cake" taste I objected to before, when I'd had trouble getting all of my sugar syrup into the frosting and got the butter out of proportion.
It's not a good cupcake for the school party circuit, because the frosting notes say to not have it out at room temperature more than 4 hours. But this is a good combination to remember when cupcakes are needed in a hurry.