Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

This recipe comes from http://www.cupcakeproject.com where it is called the ultimate vanilla cupcake. I’m not entirely sure it is the ultimate, but I tell you what they are beautiful vanilla bean cupcakes none the less.

    1 cup (225 grams) caster sugar
    1 vanilla bean
    1 3/4 cups (175 grams) plain flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    2 large eggs, room temperature
    1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
    1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
    1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
    2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk

Preheat oven to 175 C . Line a 12 cup muffin tray with cupcake liners. (You may need to do more than one batch, this mix made 22 for me)
In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavour into the sugar. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the vanilla bean sugar to the flour mix and mix until well combined.
To this add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquid.  (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s supposed to be that way.)  Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.

This recipe states it makes 16, I got 22, just see how you go, you can always eat the batter!

The most incredible tasting icing to accompany (also from cupcake project):

 1 1/2 cup icing sugar.
 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (add more to taste if you want and do not lick    the spoon it’s not as tasty as you would think!)
 1 tablespoon milk

Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy. Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute. If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste, or more confectioners’ sugar to make it stiffer.

 Now don’t let my interpretation that these aren’t the utimate put you off them, they are soft, fluffy, sweet and definately vanillary. The reason I don’t think they are the ultimate is because the amount it costs to make them does not correspond with the happiness whilst eating them and that they weren’t as light as other cupcake recipes I have tried. When deciding to make these you do need to weigh up if you want to pay the $10 for vanilla bean paste and $8 for 2 vanilla beans. You do have one left over and heaps of paste left over but it makes for a very expensive inital outlay. I will need to re try these in different paper cases as I am not 100% sure that the denseness of the cupcakes isnt due to the paper cases I used.

A few of the cupcakes sank in the middle, it may have been because I panic removed them from the oven because the recipe says they shouldn’t brown and when they started browning I pulled them out. In hindsight I should have left them in and just covered the browned bits with icing. The cake mix is really lovely, it has a soft vanilla flavour and a light speckle of the vanilla seeds throughout. The icing is to die for, it is better eaten cool because otherwise it is a bit buttery on the palate. As described on cupcake project this icing tastes like vanilla icecream, it would be amazing spread over a plain sponge or buttercake.

The main challenges with this recipe are getting the seeds through the sugar, I ended up sieving the sugar to break up the clumps, trying to get the right amount of batter into the cases so that they are risen enough to ice but not overflowing, and icing them. To ice the cupcakes I put the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and piped a swirl on the top of each cupcake. The icing was just enough for this batch which was 22, minus the 2 that sank so 20, but it wasn’t a lot of icing on each. You might need an extra half a batch if you wanted an impressive swirl of icing to top them off.

I would highly reccomend making these cupcakes but I would make them for a good reason that the $28 spend can be justified for. A birthday would be perfect, not just midweek cupcakes like I did. They are perfectly vanillary, not too sweet because the flavour comes from the vanilla and not the sugar and feel a little bit special to eat.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, this week I will also post anzac biscuits and chapter 4 of cake decorating. Have a great week.

Love Sonia xx

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