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Honey Birthday Cupcakes

My inspiration for my birthday cake came from a visit to my friends the Hansens.  They have a huge garden and even their own beehive.  I started to wonder what you could do with huge quantities of honey.  My inspiration was a spice cake with a honey buttercream frosting.

When I checked for spice cake recipes to see what spices they use, I found that Emeril Lagasse had created a similar cake, only using whipped cream with honey as the icing.  (Damn you, Lagasse!)  Just to show him that I knew what I was doing, I decided to continue with my original plan: Rose Levy Berenbaum's All Occasion Yellow Butter Cake with spices (ginger, cloves, and cinnamon) topped with Rose's Neoclassic Buttercream Frosting with honey substituted for the corn syrup.

Here is one of my honey cupcakes:

I substituted honey for some of the sugar in the cake, which I could clearly taste in the finished product.  The frosting is a boiled icing; as I heated the honey it gave off an amazing bouquet of clover.  I was worried about overpowering the honey, so I added only about 1-1/4 sticks of butter rather than the 4 sticks (!) called for in the recipe.  The result had a very clear taste of honey both at first taste and continuing.  The sweetness of the butter provided a great counterpoint to the honey, although next time I might try only one stick. The yellow of the butter in both the cake and icing perfectly complement the honey's color.  Honey icing is a very different experience from a honey glaze, much more complex.  Maybe I should get some bees of my own...


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