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Very Vanilla Cupcakes

I have a very exciting announcement! This was my very first attempt to work with a real vanilla bean I found them at the grocery store in the baking isle; there were two in a tube for $8. Very expensive if you ask me but I am very happy that I tried it. I think that I saw them for much cheaper at Bulk Barn or maybe even Winners. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t very exciting for you to hear about, but it was very exciting for me. Maybe I just wanted to see how many times I could use the word very in one paragraph!?

Overall I think that Anna really enjoys using the electric mixer whenever possible and she also seems to enjoy having a lot of steps where they aren’t necessarily necessary. I thought this recipe was a tad convoluted but it did make a mighty fine cupcake so I really can’t complain. The icing was spot on, a wonderful balance of sugar fat and cream cheese. As usual I made mini cupcakes as well as big ones, I like options!

I made a very sad discovery while trying to frost the cakes. Apparently through one of my many moves this year (THREE, I have moved three times in the last year, yuck) I have lost all of my piping bags! This is tragic since I had a few very nice ones that were given to me as a gift *sigh* losing gifts is the worst, someone was nice enough to go out of their way for me to get me something nice and now it’s gone. Luckily I managed to not lose all of my tips, so I fashioned a piping bag out of a Ziplock freezer bag and used a large star tip, everything turned out just fine.

I am happy with this recipe; I will probably make it again. Next time I might try adding some peppermint extract to the frosting since this recipe seems like it would take well to other flavors.

As lovely as the little vanilla bean seeds are, all speckled throughout the cake and frosting, I am not convinced that they are worth the money. Pure vanilla extract would have produced a similar if not identical, save for the specks, cake at a fraction of the price.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1/2 cup cake and pastry flour **see note**

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

dash fine salt

3 tablespoons 2% milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

half a vanilla bean pod ** see note**

4 large egg yolks

4 large egg whites

12 tablespoons sugar, separated

Easy Icing

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

half a vanilla bean pod ** see note**

1-2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 °F and line mini muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift flours, baking powder and salt and set aside. Whisk milk, oil and vanilla bean paste together and set aside.

Whip egg whites with 6 tbsp of sugar until they hold a soft peak when beaters are lifted. In a separate bowl, whip egg yolks with remaining 6 tbsp of sugar until doubled in volume and a pale, butter color. Fold whipped whites into yolk mixture. Fold flour into whipped eggs in two additions. Stir a spoonful of batter into milk mixture then add all back to batter, folding quickly to incorporate. Pipe or spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, 3/4-full. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until cupcake springs back when touched. Let cool.


Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy and smooth.

On low speed, add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until blended. Beat in vanilla bean paste and add milk, 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Pipe or spread onto completely cooled cakes.

Note – I made my own “cake flour”. Measure half a cup of flour. Remove one Tablespoon of it and then add one Tablespoon of cornstarch to the flour. Done! Make sure to sift it.

Also, Anna said that you can use 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or half a vanilla bean pod, or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.

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