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Tahitian Vanilla Bean Cupcakes for ‘National Vanilla Cupcake Day’

Today is National Vanilla Cupcake Day!!! What better way to celebrate than with a cupcake packed full of vanilla flavor!

This cupcake is made with milk steeped with Tahitian vanilla beans, homemade vanilla extract and lots of sugar!  It’s super moist and so full of flavor!  The cupcake shrunk up a little bit during cooling, so I might cook them a bit longer next time or add a bit more flour to add stability in the batter.  Still taste good though!

And the frosting, well I tried a new recipe inspired by an article that Jessie Oleson (aka CakeSpy) posted on her Facebook page.  I’m not sure if I like the flavor of this frosting as much as my traditional buttercream, but the texture is so silky smooth.  I think I’ll be tweaking this recipes and trying new way to get less butter flavor and more sweetness.  It definitely has a very strong vanilla taste though!! Just my preference is to have a less buttery taste.

You could use any vanilla beans for this recipe.  I happen to have Tahitian beans left over from my homemade vanilla extract.  The beans keep nicely in the jars I made the extract in so they were moist and full of flavor and vanilla beans still.

Tahitian Vanilla Cupcake
Adapted from Simply Recipes “Double Vanilla Cupcakes”

Makes approx. 20 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tahitian Vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line at cupcake pans with at least 20 liners.
  2. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean. Place the seeds, empty bean, and the milk into a small saucepan. Heat to just under a simmer for a few minutes being careful not to scald the milk. Remove from heat and allow the milk to steep and cool. Just before you use the milk, remove the bean and save for later use.
  3. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the whole egg and beat until incorporated.
  5. One at a time, add the egg whites beating 30 seconds after each egg.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  7. Remove the vanilla beans from the milk.
  8. In the saucepan, whisk in vanilla extract and sour cream until smooth.
  9. With the mixer on low, add the flour in thirds to the egg mixture.  Between each addition, add half the milk mixture.  Before adding the last third of flour, turn off the mixer and finish by folding in the flour by hand with a large spatula.
  10. Continuing by hand, add the water and fold together only until incorporated.  DO NOT OVER MIX.
  11. Fill liners 2/3 full.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Rotate pan 180 degrees after 15 minutes.  Cupcakes will be done when a toothpic comes out clean.

Tahitian Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2008), by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, founders of the Baked shops in Brooklyn and Charleston, S.C.

Makes enough to frost 24+ cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tahitian Vanilla bean
  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean. Place the seeds, empty bean, flour, milk and cream into a small saucepan, whisk together until smooth.  Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture starts bubbling and becomes thick.  Make sure you take it off the heat just as it bubbles and thickens.  If it starts to brown, you’ve cooked it too long and it has burned.  (Trust me, I know.  My first round making this frosting, I burnt it!!!)
  2. Strain the mixture into the bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on high speed until cool, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the butter in 8 parts; beat until thoroughly after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  4. Half a cup at a time, add the powdered sugar; beat 30 seconds after each addition.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
  6. Beat another 2 minutes on high.
  7. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of barely bubbling water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Katie O.

Thursday 31st of October 2013

Do you add the flour in step 1 of the frosting with the milk and cream?

Betsy Eves

Friday 1st of November 2013

Yes! Thanks for catching my omission. I have updated the recipe!

Miss Tori

Sunday 20th of October 2013

I think you've left out the addition of the flour in the frosting. I've made this type of frosting before and it's really good. I may have to try adding the Tahitian vanilla extract to it next time.


Wednesday 24th of November 2010

When do you add the granulated sugar?


Wednesday 24th of November 2010

Step 3. Cream the butter and sugar together. :)