Friday, February 5, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

If I had to pick one food to live off of the rest of my life, I would pick cupcakes. Not versatile potatoes or protein-packed meat. Simple, homemade, cupcakes with vanilla frosting. My love of these mini-cakes started Valentines Day, about 7 years ago. My brother's girlfriend at the time made a batch of cupcakes, complete with red frosting and heart-shaped sprinkles. Since my brother has never had a huge sweet tooth, he ate a few, put the rest in a container and packed them away in the basement freezer.

Not long after, I was helping my mom put away groceries and was sent to the basement to store various meats. As I moved around boxes and containers in the freezer to make room for the groceries, I came upon the container of cupcakes. Knowing my brother would be upset if I ate his precious cupcakes, I warmed one in my hand and quickly wolfed it down. It was delicious. Still slightly frozen, it was chewy and melted in my mouth. It was perfectly sweet and I was in love. I rearranged the remaining cupcakes to fill the empty space and closed the freezer door.

For the next few weeks, I secretly made my way to the basement to privately enjoy my forbidden fruit. I was hooked. And just as quickly as I had discovered them, I had eaten nearly all of the cupcakes. When my brother found his barely filled container in the freezer, he was beyond upset, but I just smiled as I denied his accusations of eating his Valentines Day gift. And ever since, cupcakes have been my weakness.

Since the first two recipes I've shared have both been chocolate and cookies, I decided it was time to mix it up a bit. It wasn't hard to decide on what to bake next. I racked my brain on how to mix up my all-time favorite dessert. I decided to incorporate the vanilla beans which I bought a few weeks back (which have been sitting on my counter waiting for an opportunity to be put to use) and make Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting.

I found a basic cake recipe, replaced the given amount of vanilla with the beans and added a pinch of salt. The cake is heavenly soft that falls apart in your mouth like the perfect cupcake should. The frosting is a completely original recipe with a delicious tang from the cream cheese.

The vanilla bean makes a HUGE difference in taste. When my boyfriend and mom tried a spoonful of batter, they both exclaimed that it tasted like Breyers Ice Cream. It's far from 'Vanilla Flavored.' And the wonderful black specks of flavor are carried throughout the whole cupcake, from the cake to the frosting. And the best part? It's so easy.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 16

For Cake Batter:

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
pinch salt

For the Frosting:

1-8 ounce brick of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick), softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

To prepare the batter:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners. (This recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.) Slice open the vanilla bean, and using a knife scrape all the seeds. Place vanilla seeds and bean pod into a 1/2 cup milk, stir, and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and pinch salt. Slowly add to the creamed mixture. Squeeze out any moisture from the vanilla bean into the milk, and discard. Add the milk to the batter.
Evenly spoon the batter into each cupcake liner and bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges should be lightly browned, and a toothpick should come out clean from the center of each cupcake. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese well. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean. Mix well, and discard of the bean. Finally, beat in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.
Use a small spatula to frost each cupcake. Refrigerate frosted cupcakes or any unused frosting.


  1. Keaton!
    You are amazing. I love your blogg.
    Very tastefully done...(no punn intended) I can't wait to try your beautiful recipies.
    Happy Food to you,
    Kathy Vaughan

  2. Thank you so much, that means a lot! More and more to come!