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Madagascar vanilla beans

Vanilla Cupcakes

I’ve thought a lot about what makes the perfect vanilla cupcake… will it be moist? dense? crumbly? cakey? white? cream? vanilla beans? extract? I’ve tried a lot of recipes, but none really taste like vanilla… just plain cake.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes  | JavaCupcake.com

I posed this question to you on Facebook & Twitter, “What ingredients make up the perfect vanilla cupcake?”… and this is what you said:

  • vanilla bean powder
  • vanilla beans
  • coconut flour paired with a good vanilla bean extract
  • vinegar
  • homemade vanilla extract
  • whipped egg whites folded into the batter
  • box of vanilla pudding mix

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes  | JavaCupcake.com

Yesterday, I ventured into the kitchen to make a vanilla cupcake that truly tasted like vanilla.  I began with Sweetapolita’s recipe for vanilla cake and added my own spin on it to really bring out the vanilla flavor.  I did things like steep the milk in vanilla beans, use my homemade vanilla extract and vanilla sugar and of course use the seeds of 2 fresh Madagascar vanilla beans.

And, after tasting them… I’m pretty darn certain that these are one of the most delicious vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever tasted!  I’m definitely adding this recipe to the rotation!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes  | JavaCupcake.com

PS… Love these liners?  I got them from Sutton Gourmet Paper!!

 

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 18-20 cupcakes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 3 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup milk steeped with 2 vanilla beans/pods and strained/cooled
  • 1/4 sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla bean extract
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted 3 times
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/8 cup Madagascar vanilla bean sugar
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft & at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable shortening

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, SIFTED
  • 1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla bean extract
  • 1/4 cup Madagascar vanilla bean infused milk/cream, room temperature (use same method as used for the cupcakes)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Split 2 Madagascar vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds. Combine the pods and seeds in a small sauce pan with 1 cup of milk and bring to a simmer over med-high heat while whisking constantly. Remove from heat as soon as it begins to bubble and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup for the buttercream.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  3. In a small bowl , whisk together the egg whites, egg, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of the vanilla milk and sour cream. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, sift the cake flour three times. Add the baking powder, salt and sugar and sift two additional times.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour mixture with the butter and shortening on medium speed for about 30 seconds or until it looks finely clumped.
  6. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla milk and mix until just combined. It will be thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  7. Add the egg mixture in three parts, mixing for 20 seconds on medium speed and scraping the sides of the bowl between each addition. NOTE: DO NOT OVER MIX the batter. You want it to be smooth with all the ingredients incorporated.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 17-19 minutes, rotating pan after 12 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when they are done.
  9. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  2. One cup at a time, add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Add 2 Tbsp of the milk and beat on high for 3-4 minutes or until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if necessary to reach your desired consistency. NOTE: Make sure to add as many as the vanilla bean seeds as you can to the frosting!

 

Mardi Gras Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Rich buttermilk and vanilla bean cake in purple, yellow and green make these Mardi Gras cupcakes topped with Reese’s mini cupcakes the perfect party treat! Mardi Gras Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com In February 2012, AFN Bavaria here in Germany is hosted me for a 2 hour segment to talk cupcakes and baking!  And, well… since it’s Mardi Gras season, I thought it’d be a perfect reason to bring the DJ’s some party cupcakes!

Because I needed to color the batter, I needed a basic white cake batter to start with.  So, I whipped up a simple vanilla buttermilk cupcake.  But… you know me, nothing I do is ever basic.  These cupcakes have my favorite Madagascar vanilla beans, buttermilk and some added sour cream for flavor.  There is nothing basic about the flavor of these bad boys! Mardi Gras Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com I topped the cupcakes with  a cinnamon cream cheese frosting then embellished them with Mardi Gras colored sprinkles and mini cupcakes made with Reese’s peanut butter cups.   This is a simple, fun way to dress up your cupcakes for a party!

You don’t just have to make these cupcakes for Mardi Gras either… they could be made in green and red for Christmas.  They could be made in pink and white for Valentine’s Day or even Green for St. Patrick’s day.  The possibilities are quiet endless! So, if you’re looking for a fun, simple, yet delicious cupcake to serve at your Mardi Gras party… make these Mardi Gras Cupcakes!

They’ll be sure to impress your party guests!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

Happy Baking!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

These cupcakes are ready to PARTY for Mardi Gras!

Ingredients

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • the seeds of 2 Madagascar vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Green, Purple and Yellow food coloring gel (I used Wilton brand)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • green, purple and yellow sprinkles
  • Mini Reese's peanut butter cups
  • purple gel food coloring

Instructions

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pans with white liners.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes.
  3. While that is creaming, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the buttermilk, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and sour cream. Whisk until combined. It will look lumpy, which is okay.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the butter/sugar and mix on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated. NOTE: It will look curdled. DO NOT FRET! It will smooth out once you add the flour.
  6. Add all the flour at once and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Don't over mix!!
  7. Separate batter evenly into three bowls.
  8. Add food coloring and mix until uniform in color.
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop one color into the liner against one edge. Quickly, scoop the second color next to/overlapping the first color. Finally, add the third color. NOTE: By the time you get to scooping the third color, you should still be able to see a 1/3 of the bottom of the liner.
  10. Add another smaller scoop of each color until the liners are 1/2-2/3 full. NOTE: Do not fill these more than 2/3 full. They puff up nicely and you don't want overflow!
  11. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan after 12 minutes.
  12. Cool in pans for 7-8 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. /4lb at a time, add the powdered sugar. After the first addition, add the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until smooth.
  3. After the next additions of powdered sugar, add whipping cream and beat on high until smooth. After the last addition of sugar, add enough cream until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Add the pinch of salt and beat on high for 5 minutes.

Assembly

  1. Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting and tint with purple food coloring gel. Put it in a piping bag with a small star tip. Set aside.
  2. Using the white frosting and a large star tip, pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Embellish with sprinkles and jimmies.
  3. Put a swirl of the purple frosting on top of the Reese's pb cups and embellish with sprinkles and jimmies. (You want it to look like a mini cupcake.)
  4. Place a Reese's cup on top of each cupcake, off center.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Red Velvet Love Cupcakes

I had a little bit of extra Red Velvet batter when I made an order for mini’s recently,  so I decided to dress up a full size cupcakes for Valentine’s Day.

First, I used my favorite red and white liners from Sutton Gourmet Paper that owner Kellie sent me.  Seriously, these make any red and white cupcake so much more beautiful.  They hold their color so well… I just love them!

Second, I filled those awesome liners with my recipe for Red Velvet cake… which, I think I’ve pretty much perfected.

Third, I topped them with a simple cream cheese and vanilla bean frosting.

Finally, I added the cutest red heart sprinkles… making these the perfect Valentine treat!

Here’s to wishing all of my fantastic readers a very

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 

Please know how much I love each and every one of you and truly am thankful for your love and support over the years!

Cream Cheese & Vanilla Bean Frosting

Yield: Enough to frost 12+ cupcakes
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • the seeds from one Madagascar vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Madagascar vanilla bean cream (recipe for this cream can be found here)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Mix in the vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Mix in the powered sugar and salt.
  4. Add enough of the cream until you get the consistency you desire and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  5. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Pipe swirls on you the cupcake and top with red hearts.

Thin Mint Cupcakes

These Thin Mint Cupcakes are by far the most decadent, minty, chocolaty cupcakes I’ve ever had!

It’s totally that time of year… GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME! I can’t resist.  I bought 10 boxes.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  10 boxes. 2 to eat (with in the first 24  hours). 8 to bake with. Yeah… you read that correctly.  8 boxes to bake with.

Last year I made Samoa Cupcakes and Tagalong Brownies.  This year… I started with Thin Mint Cupcakes.  These cupcakes are a super decadent chocolate cake filled with a whipped chocolate ganache topped with a mint buttercream.  Serious amounts of NOM NOM NOM.

PS…. This is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe.  I know it’s got beer in it… but I’m totally using it for every chocolate cake I make from now on!!

And this is what you do when you have left over peppermint buttercream.  NOM NOM NOM

Thin Mint Cupcakes

Thin Mint Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

  • 1 bottle of Guinness Stout Beer
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Peppermint Buttercream

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Madagascar Vanilla Bean Cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Wilton Green Food Gel

Assembly

  • Thin Mint Cookies
  • Peppermint Buttercream
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Piping bag & large round tip
  • Apple corer

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Add the vanilla beer, whisk together and heat until it just begins to simmer. Whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso powder and heat until it just begins to bubble up. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  4. In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Slowly pour in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. NOTE: DO THIS SLOW! You don't want to cook the eggs, so start pouring a very small amount of the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture... DO NOT DUMP IT IN ALL AT ONCE.
  5. In three parts, add the flour mixture to the chocolate/egg mixture. Whisk until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, making sure everything is incorporated.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating pan after 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan for 3-4 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Ganache

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium glass bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the heavy cream and corn syrup just until it bubbles.
  3. Pour heavy cream over chocolate and stir until smooth. If the chocolate doesn't melt all the way, place the bowl over a double boiler and continue to stir until smooth.
  4. Mix in the butter and extract.
  5. Allow ganache to cool to room temperature.
  6. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the cooled ganache until fluffy. Don't over mix or it will get grainy.

Buttercream

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add half the powdered sugar and mix on high until incorporated and smooth.
  3. Beat in half the vanilla bean cream until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, making sure all the sugar is combined.
  4. Add the remaining sugar and the peppermint extract.
  5. Mix in the food gel until it's the color you desire.
  6. Add remaining vanilla bean cream until you get the consistency you want. Mix on high 3-4 minutes until smooth and fluffy.

Assembly

  1. Core each cupcake using the apple corer.
  2. Fill each cupcake with whipped ganache. (I filled a disposable piping bag, cut off the top and filled each one with that.)
  3. Using a large round tip and a piping bag, pipe a round swirl of buttercream on to each cupcake.
  4. Top with a Thin Mint cookie and chocolate shavings.
  5. EAT! ENJOY!

 

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Sugar & Cream for baking

Beanilla was having a HUGE sale on their vanilla beans, so I snatched up a 1/2lb of Madagascar beans this week.  Seriously, the BEST investment I’ve made for my baking in a long time.

These beans are so fresh, so moist, and so full of great vanilla flavor…  I really can’t wait to use them in EVERYTHING for the next few months.  I just hope that 1/2lb was enough!

First thing I made took me no time at all.  Vanilla Sugar.  Seriously, get some vanilla beans and make some of this yourself.  It takes 2 minutes and your sugar will thank you!!

Vanilla Sugar
airtight container
5lb bag of sugar
2 Madagascar vanilla beans, split length wise

  1. Empty the bag of sugar into the airtight container.
  2. Add the two vanilla beans to the sugar.  Put the lid on and shake until the beans are covered in sugar.
  3. Let the beans hangout over night in the sugar.
  4. Take the lid off, smell, taste, enjoy!  You now have vanilla sugar!

NOTE:  You can just keep adding sugar to the container as you go through it as well as any other used vanilla bean husks as you bake.  Just take the old ones out when they’re all dried up.  You can used the dried up beans in milk/cream to make vanilla cream! Nom nom nom.

And then I made Vanilla Cream.  You can use this cream in place of any recipe that calls for milk or heavy cream.  It will add such a rich, delicious vanilla flavor to whatever it is you’re baking.

You could also use it as coffee creamer.  Nom nom nom

Vanilla Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Madagascar vanilla bean

  1. Split the vanilla beans open length wise using a sharp knife.  Scrape out the vanilla bean paste from inside the pod.
  2. In a small heavy bottomed pot, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla bean pod and paste.
  3. Cook on LOW for about 10 minutes, whisking often.
  4. Increase heat to medium until the milk just begins to simmer and bubble.  NOTE:  You don’t not want it to reach a full boil or burn.  Just a nice, slow simmer.
  5. As soon as the milk begins to bubble up, remove it from the heat and whisk.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. A film may form on the top of the cream, just whisk it until it’s smooth again.
  8. Remove the vanilla bean pod if you’re going to use all the cream immediately.  If you plan to store the cream for later use, leave the bean in the cream until you’re ready to use it.

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