I did a little happy dance after I made these cupcakes last week. Not only because they were for my birthday the next day, but also because I did the buttercream on my own…like didn’t use someone else’s recipe. I figured out a good vanilla-almond ratio on my own. It’s a small feat for some, but a big one for me. Now I do realize that creating a flavored buttercream frosting is not hard if you know a the basic butter / powdered sugar ratio. Just let me pretend I did something magical. Cool?
Let’s just take a second and admire those small, black vanilla bean dots in the cupcake above. You can even see them through the liner!
And now let’s admire how awesome it is that these cupcakes domed so beautifully.
Okay, done admiring…for now.
One of my coworkers had requested that I bring in “something strawberry.” So I said that for my birthday I would bake “something strawberry.” I don’t do vanilla cupcakes terribly often, so I decided to make them vanilla bean. I had actually done a trial run the week prior and hadn’t cared for the outcome as much, so I switched recipes. So glad I did. These were so good. Seriously. I had several coworkers say that this one was their favorite. I credit the vanilla bean. Whole Foods has a jar of 3 Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for like $7, or if you are able to wait, order bulk online. I recommend ordering from Beanilla. They have a good variety of vanilla products from all over the world.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Originally from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Originally recipe is doubled below to make 24-28 cupcakes
3 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
4 egg whites
½ cup plain greek yogurt
1½ cup vanilla almond milk (or regular milk)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1 whole vanilla bean
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Using a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside,
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined and fluffy. Add egg whites one at a time, followed by the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. Mix well. Split open the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds from the bean and into the batter.
4. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. There shouldn’t be any lumps when finished mixing well.
5. Divide the batter amount the cupcake liners and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before assembling.
Originally from The Art of Two Tarts
Portions modified to fill cupcakes
2 cups of sliced strawberries (I recommend fairly small pieces since you’ll be filling the cupcakes with this)
1/8 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp corn starch
1. Mix 1 cup of strawberries, the sugar, water, lemon juice and corn starch in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow the strawberries to break down and sauce thicken. If needed, add another teaspoon of corn starch and sugar.
2. Turn off heat and add in the addition cup of sliced strawberries.
3. Put in a container with a lid and refrigerate until cool.
Feel free to make this the day before. I actually ended up with a bit extra and used some of the sauce to drizzle on top of the buttercream, or even use on ice cream!
2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter.
2. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar to the butter, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure the sugar is fully incorporate before adding more. Scrape the side of the bowl as needed. I always recommend sifting powdered sugar before adding to the mixer. You’re less likely to get clumpy or gritty frosting.
3. Add 2 tbsp of heavy cream. If you want the frosting softer, add another tbsp of heavy cream. If you want the frosting stiffer, add the last cup of powdered sugar.
4. Add the salt and the vanilla and almond extract. Mix until fully incorporated. If you think either the vanilla or almond flavor needs to be stronger, add a few drops at a time until you’re satisfied with the flavor.
Assemble the cupcakes by coring out the center and adding the strawberry filling. Top with the frosting using your favorite tip and/or technique. I cut some of my leftover strawberries into quarters and added a slice to the top of each cupcake as well.