Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

There is really only one word for these cupcakes--ah-mazing!!  Seriously.  I know that I may use emotional language a lot on this blog, but I always do it honestly and with much enthusiasm.  These are some of the best cupcakes I've ever made and eaten.  You have no idea how much I would love to sit across the table with you, cupcake in one hand, cup of coffee in another, just to share these delectable treats with you!  Vanilla beans and caramel are definitely one of the best flavor combinations out there!  And the sprinkles...oh, my the sprinkles.  Quite possibly my favorite.  Sometime I will have to tell you a funny story about me and the sprinkles.


To make the cupcakes even sweeter, I made them for my own birthday, a week late.  I figure that when one turns 29 a couple times over, she can celebrate for as long as she likes!  So, Happy Birthday to me and Happy Sharing with you!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin pans with paper cups. 
Whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a bowl.  Set aside.  Beat the butter in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until light & fluffy.  Add the sugar & vanilla seeds, beat until combined.  Add the egg whites & then the whole eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl, as needed.  Add the milk & beat to combine.  Turn the mixer down to low & slowly add the flour mixture.  Beat until just incorporated. 
Pour the batter into the paper liners, until 1/2 full.  Bake for about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions for the frosting:
Combine the sugar & water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil & cook, without stirring, until it turns a dark amber color, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat & slowly stir in the heavy cream & vanilla.  The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so do this slowly, stirring as you pour!  If your sugar seizes up on you, don't worry, it's not ruined.  Place the pan back over a medium-low burner and stir constantly until sugar is melted again and thoroughly combined.  Set aside until cool to the touch. 

Beat the butter & salt in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until light & fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low & add the powdered sugar.  Beat until completely incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl & pour in the caramel.  Turn the mixer back on & beat until light & fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the frosting to an airtight container & chill for at least 45 minutes before using.   

Note: The frosting can be made ahead of time & stored in an airtight container for up to 7 days.  Let the frosting come to room temperature before using.

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  1. Oh my goodness. That looks so yummy...and I'm definitely going to make them soon.

  2. So....where in the world in a grocery store do you find vanilla beans? :)

  3. Jana, they are in the spice aisle. Usually toward the top. They are pretty pricey and usually only have about 2 beans in each jar, but one you scrape the little seeds out, you can keep the pod for a future use.

  4. I found vanilla bean paste at marshalls...an 8 oz bottle was 6.99 but will last a long time and you dont have to scrape the beans! It smells and tastes heavenly!!

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