I’ve been baking for a few years pretty consistently now. If we’re going to count box mixes and pre-made frosting as “baking” then add a few more years to that, but I think we wont count that since its pretty shameful. With that being said, I realized this week that I have never made vanilla cupcakes from scratch. I’ve made Betty Crocker’s AMAZING Funfetti Cake Box Mix about a million times, but never have I even thought about making it from scratch. I guess my theory is why would you make something without chocolate when there is chocolate? Right? Mmm chocolate…
As much as I love chocolate, I really do love vanilla too! Especially since I have all of these vanilla beans that my sister-in-law gave me. Incase you were not aware, vanilla beans are crazy expensive! I had no idea because I have a bag of about 50 of them in my fridge, but if you go to the store you’ll probably end up spending about 8 dollars for one or two vanilla beans. Eek! There are alternatives such as vanilla bean paste, but I have never used it personally so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how that translates. Stick with the good stuff 😉
These cupcakes turned out really light and not too sweet really. The frosting is a simple buttercream that I tinted pink with food gel (gel is 100x better than liquid). At first, I ate one and wasn’t very impressed. Then I had another one in the morning and I decided my first impression was wrong. Maybe my problem is that you can eat one, and then instantly forget you ate it because it is light and I am use to my heavy duty chocolate ganache cupcakes.
One of my favorite things about this cake is the little specks of vanilla bean in it. There is something so yummy about seeing those specks.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
From Annie’s Eats
Yields aprox 30 cupcakes
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.) Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
These cupcakes have a lot of room for creativity with decorating so have fun with it 🙂