Ryan and I bought some hi-hat cupcakes from Dean & Delucca which were magnificent. I decided I'd learn how to make them. I remembered that I had a recipe in a book Ryan had bought me last Christmas and I set about preaparing the delicious treats exactly according to the instructions.
The sour cream cake base turned out well. It has a nice indentation in the middle for some of the marshmallow cream to nestle in, creating a nice, stable base for greater height. Normally, I don't like cakes that dent in, but it matched the photo exactly, so I knew it was intentional.
Sadly, the "marshmallow cream" didn't share such a sunny fate. The recipe was a modification of a 7-minute icing, with more sugar and no water. The trick (apparently) is to get the mixture above 160F while beating continuously over a double boiler in order to melt the sugar and make a creamier consistency. Sadly, this is seemingly impossible. The whole process was supposed to take 12 mintues. By 15 mintues, I'd lost all volume, had formed a crust on the bottom of the bowl, and had a thick, crystalized mess.
I tried again, this time, I stopped when the volume looked right, at around 12 minutes. I still had not acheived 160F and I still had a grainy mess.
I dipped a few in chocolate and ate them anyway. The flavors are there, but the texture is wrong, wrong, wrong. I did some research on the internet and discovered that
a) there seems to be only one hi-hat recipe on the internet and it is identical to the one in my book (see here and here)
b) this recipe is flawed
c) people are PISSED about it
I have decided to come up with a version of the recipe that always works. My next experiment will use white mountain frosting, which is basically the same as this modified 7-minute frosting all over the internet, but which utilizes simple syrup instead of raw sugar.
Wish me luck. I'll post my updates here.