Nope, still no Dulce de Leche Duos yet. (Still haven't gotten my butt up to the store to buy the frackin' stuff!) But, luckily, this recipe is worthy of just as much enthusiasm. It's delicious! The cupcake recipe is one I've used before. It's the same one I used for my yellow cupcakes and is my stand by yellow cupcake recipe. The only difference this time was that I used regular vanilla extract instead of vanilla butter & nut flavoring, and this is the first time I've done so. I was afraid that the flavoring might overpower the lovely taste of the vanilla beans in the frosting, and certainly didn't want that!
So now that I've mentioned it, on to the frosting. Ugh...it is amazing. I was afraid at first that it might be too plain tasting, but I've learned that I should never doubt the awesome powers of a vanilla bean. If you've never used vanilla beans before, I really recommend you try them. I know, they can be pretty expensive, but I happen to know that you can buy them SUPER cheap off of eBay (and they're great quality too) if that's your thing or you can even buy them cheaper at Costco. That's where I got my last bunch of vanilla beans. They're certainly worth the investment because their flavor is out of this world. It's intensely vanilla, so much more flavor than just using extract, and they really shined in the buttercream. Plus, of course, I always love the look of those little specks of vanilla bean seeds. I left the image above a little larger this time, so make sure to click to get the full size and see all those lovely seeds!
Anyways, back to the actual frosting. It's a Swiss meringue buttercream and, again, if you haven't tried this buttercream, you really need to. Forget the things you've heard about it (if you have heard anything), and give it a go. I really have Cassie from How to Eat a Cupcake to thank from turning me on to this buttercream, and it's her standards for butter that I use. She uses only 1/4 cup of butter per egg white, and I find that to be the perfect amount. Almost all other recipes I've seen use way more than that, and I can only imagine why people think the frosting tastes like a stick of butter...because it probably does! 1/4 cup per egg white makes the perfect butteriness, I think. This frosting is creamy, not too sweet, and has wonderful flavor. It can seem a little intimidating and is a little time consuming, but it's really not so hard after all and is so worth it. So definitely try it!
For the cupcake recipe, go to my other post here. Again, the only thing I did differently this time was to use regular vanilla extract instead of vanilla butter & nut.
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream (From my own mind. :] )
Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes (plus probably have a little left over).
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons/1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 vanilla bean (about a 4 to 4 1/2 inch piece), split and seeds scraped
- Fill a large pot with about an inch of water. Place on stove and bring water to a simmer. Place egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large, heatproof bowl and place the bowl over the pot of simmering water (make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl).
- Whisk egg white mixture constantly until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees F or until the mixture feels hot to the touch and no longer grainy when rubbed between your fingers, about 5 minutes.
- Put the egg mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium high speed until the meringue comes to room temperature, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Feel the bowl in order to tell if it's come to room temperature or not...if the bowl no longer feels warm at all, you're good to go.)
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and on low speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Don't be alarmed if the mixture seems liquidy at first. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and creamy, about 6 to 10 minutes. Also don't be alarmed if your buttercream appears to have curdled at some point. Just keep beating, and it will come back together. (I have pictures of what it looks like curdled here, under step three in the buttercream directions.)
- Once mixture has become thick and creamy, reduce speed to low and add extract and vanilla bean seeds and mix until combined and also to remove any air pockets. Use to frost cupcakes and enjoy! :)