Thursday, January 21, 2010

Extreme Vanilla Cupcakes

Even though I had a major disappointment before I made these, the resulting cupcake was awesome and definitely made me brighten up! I first stumbled upon the recipe on a blog called justJENN recipes, under the name "VERY Vanilla Cupcakes," but I made a few changes from the recipe that warranted the name "Extreme!" These cupcakes are chock-full of vanilla in three forms: extract, vanilla milk, and, in with my change, vanilla bean. In Jenn's original recipe, she used vanilla sea salt, but since I didn't have any, I decided to substitute vanilla beans instead.

Anyways, the disappointment had to do with the mini little nut & party cups I was planning on making these in. I've seen them used in multiple blogs and being as I've never made mini cupcakes, the prospect sounded incredibly fun! I found Wilton nut & party cups at Michael's and was excited as I opened the package. I thought they'd be great, especially for someone like me since they stand up by themselves and don't require a mini cupcake tin, something that I don't have. But lo and behold, when I opened the package, they had a wax coating on the inside!! ARGH! Those can't go in the oven! I was so upset, particularly so because the packaging didn't even mention that they had a wax coating and were unsafe for baking. So I had to drag out the ol' regular-sized cupcake tin and paper liners. Definitely not as exciting.

But like I said, the resulting cupcake was still great, so all was good. By the way, please excuse my crazy piping on the cupcake. This is really the first time I've ever seriously tried piping anything, so I know it looks a little ridiculous, ha ha! I just tried a regular swirl at first, but I didn't quite get the edges, so I went back and did some crazy shell-like border around the edges. Feel free to giggle, as I certainly did! But I had a lot of fun trying to pipe and I look forward to practicing and getting better!

Extreme Vanilla Cupcakes (Adapted from justJENN recipes)
I halved the recipe twice and only got 4 cupcakes, so it's safe to say that this full recipe will yield about 16 cupcakes.

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (Again, I always use the all-purpose and cornstarch trick. See post below for how-to.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla sea salt (I just scraped in some vanilla beans and used regular salt)
  • 1 cup vanilla milk (Jenn used Horizon Organic Vanilla Milk. I didn't have any, so just put a couple drops of vanilla into regular old 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and sea salt (or whatever salt you're using). Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated and then vanilla (and vanilla bean seeds, if using).
  4. Add milk, alternating with the dry ingredients until combined, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jenn said in her post that she just frosted with a simple vanilla buttercream. Since I wanted to keep with the amped up vanilla theme, I frosted with a vanilla bean buttercream, yum!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream (adapted from, Oprah.)
(This recipe is enough to frost 24 cupcakes, so it'll be more than you need. Feel free to reduce the ingredients slightly.)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • (I also added in a little shot of vanilla extract! Yay, vanilla!)
  1. Cream the butter in a medium-sized bowl (or stand mixer) until very smooth. Add vanilla bean seeds and mix until they are evenly distributed.
  2. Add salt and milk (and vanilla extract, if using) and stir until combined (it probably won't come together very well being as it's fat and a liquid, but don't worry about it. It'll all come together once you add the sugar.)
  3. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the butter mixture and beat until perfectly smooth. If too loose, add some more confectioners' sugar. If too stiff, add some more milk.
By the way, as I was editing and adding text to my photo, I found this effect on Picnik:Ha ha!! Vanilla cupcake is all powerful! x)

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