Friday, January 28, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

In my search for the perfect cake batter recipes: moist and dense enough to hold shape without being a solid rock- I found my new vanilla cake!

Makes 18 cupcakes

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean

Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Don't scimp on the beating time. This is where you add air and start dissolving the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating at least 30 seconds with each addition. Again, don't scimp on beating time. Here we are adding more air and finishing dissolving the sugar so you don't get gritty batter. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Measure out milk and vanilla and mix together. Add the seeds scraped out of 1/2 of a vanilla bean. (Slit them in half, open up, and use your knife to scrape out the seeds. The bean is moist in the inside, and the seeds will stick to the knife. They are VERY tiny.

Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients, beating just until combined. you don't want to overbeat at this stage or you will take the air out as well as start the flour developing those glutens that will make your cake tough.

Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 full. Don't overfill! Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes. My oven runs hot, so mine were done at about 20.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
seeds of 1/2 of a vanilla bean

Beat butter and cheese until creamy. Add 4 cups of sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract and the vanilla seeds and beat until combined. Add more sugar until it's the consistency and sweetness you like. I ended up with the full 5 cups plus a little more, because I wanted it stiff enough for piping on the cupcakes.

0 Tasty Tidbits: