I had baked some basic white cupcakes - just plain old cupcakes. They were cooled down and now it was the frosting I was after.
I had set out a stick of butter earlier when I was going to make a butter cake - and decided against it. I set the butter to creaming in the stand mixer bowl.
In a small saucepan, I poured 3/4 cup of heavy cream and put it over medium heat. I poured 6 ounces of the Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate into a metal bowl and when the cream was just coming to a simmer, I poured it over the chocolate and stirred until smooth. I gave it a little taste. Nope, needed some milk chocolate added (I'm a milk chocolate freak)...so I grabbed approximately 4 ounces of milk chocolate drops (I admit I didn't measure them, but I'm pretty sure it was about 1/3 of a 12 ounce bag) and dropped them into the cream and chocolate concoction.
While I waited for them to get soft from the heat, I added 10 ounces of powdered sugar to the creaming butter and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and continued the beating.
Back to the chocolate, I mixed it until almost all lumps of chocolate were gone but it was cooling down fairly rapidly by now so I went ahead and mixed the chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture. Sample taste said it had the right flavor, but not the right amount of texture. I needed more confectioners sugar and added 6 more ounces bit by bit until I had exactly the texture I was looking for. Not so stiff that I couldn't easily pipe it, but stiff enough that it would hold the lines of a large star tip when I piped circles onto the cupcakes.
I loaded up a large piping bag and the frosting volume was exactly enough to pipe frosting onto 24 cupcakes. (and Goldilocks said "this one is jussst right")
The teen arrived in time to sample one, and his arrival for a second assured me it was as tasty as I'd hoped.
He likes it when Momma goes into the kitchen to experiment with cupcakes...he thoroughly enjoys the taste testing role...just so long as it's not vegetables. Good thing he doesn't read my blog and realize how many times I sneak pureed veggies into our sweets. Tee hee hee!
So, there we go, now I have a shortening-free buttercream that will stand up to piping. It could have been made even more stiff if I'd wanted to add some more sugar and pipe more detail...but that wasn't the point for this particular exercise.
Bon Appetit, Y'all!