A few days later there were 20 gorgeous Tahitian vanilla beans in my mailbox. Can I just tell you that there are very few thing that makes my nostrils happier than smelling fresh, plump, fragrant vanilla beans. Heaven. I could have walked around all day with my face in that bag of beans. I walked around the house making everyone smell them. The beans and I had a moment.
This recipe is from Chow.com a really great source for recipes. It was paired with Salted Caramel Frosting, that I was really looking forward to topping these with, then I started reading the reviews and many of them said the caramel frosting was too buttery and that it would be better suited to a chocolate cake or cupcakes. So I stored the frosting recipe away for another time and topped these with my ole stand by...Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Can I just say it was a perfect pairing.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper liners. Alternatively, coat the wells with butter; set aside.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until very light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla seeds (if you’re using vanilla extract instead, you’ll add it later), and continue beating until mixture is airy, about 3 minutes.
Add milk (and vanilla extract, if you’re using it in place of seeds), and mix until combined (the mixture will look curdled, but it’s not). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.
Fill the muffin wells about halfway, and bake cupcakes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter - room temp
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk (plus a few dashes to adjust consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat butter & cocoa until smooth, then add sugar one cup at a time, beating with each addition. Add milk & vanilla and beat about 3 minutes