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Vanilla bean cupcakes & vanilla bean frosting

2012 December 7
by Emily Hill

When my friend Kim announced she was throwing herself a 31st birthday bash, I was all over bringing something sweet to the party. I noted the pink color scheme and thought a vanilla bean cupcake with some sort of pink decoration would suit the event perfectly.


Vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla bean frosting

Come to find out, vanilla is Kim’s most favorite cupcake flavor. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I scoured the Internets looking for what sounded like THE BEST vanilla bean cupcake recipe and found the ultimate vanilla cupcake recipe on Cupcake Project. The reviews seemed overwhelmingly in favor of this crowned winner; this was going to be the perfect vanilla bean cupcake for my perfect 30-something Kimmie.

But wait…I need to use a real vanilla bean in the cupcake AND the frosting?!?

Confession: I’m a vanilla bean virgin.

Though I had yet to scrape my first vanilla bean, I was determined to make these vanilla bean cupcakes no matter the extent of my discomfort. Come to find out, it’s amazingly easy to scrape seeds from a vanilla bean…so easy I wondered why I’d been a vanilla virgin for so long.

Ready for your “first”? Check out yesterday’s post in which I share all my not-so-secret secrets: “How to scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean.” (Clever title, right?)

You’ll also find a quick little recipe for homemade vanilla sugar.


Now back to the cupcakes…

Aren’t they so pretty? I know what you’re thinking. “Where the heck is all the frosting?

Here are your choices:

A) Kim prefers no more than 1mm of frosting on her cupcakes.

B) I doubled the batch and still didn’t have enough to frost them all.

C) All of the above.

The answer is C. Of course, I found out about A later that night—what a happy coincidence!


Here are a few notes about this recipe:

  • The ultimate vanilla cupcake recipe made close to 4 dozen cupcakes (see next note).
  • I filled each cupcake liner half full, which was plenty for such a thin batter…and believe me, this batter is very thin.
  • I used the vanilla bean buttercream frosting from Cupcake Project to top them off.
  • I doubled the frosting and it was barely enough to thinly frost 3 dozen cupcakes (see photo).
  • If you prefer a denser cupcake, try “less leavening, more sour cream and/or less milk” (per Barbara, one of my most favorite bakers, via Twitter late last night).


If you try for a denser cupcake and it works, let me know what changes you made. Of course, if you prefer light and airy, this cupcake is so totally for you.

All I know is I’ve never seen such beautiful flecks of vanilla bean in all my life.

Because the original vanilla cupcake recipe isn’t printable, I’ve created a printable version for you below. (You can find the original here.)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
These vanilla cupcakes are light and airy and have the perfect vanilla flavor. Real vanilla bean in the cupcake and frosting make them as beautiful on the eyes as they are on the tongue.
Ingredients
Cupcake:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1¾ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup full-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
Frosting
  • 1½ to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Using the back of a spoon, break up any clumps of seeds. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  5. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Mixture will resemble very fine crumbs.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  7. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  8. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be very thin.
  9. Fill cupcake liners about ½ full.
  10. Bake for 14 minutes and est to see if they are done. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean, NOT golden brown. If cupcakes aren't done, test again in two minute increments until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. When the cupcakes are done, immediately remove them from the tins and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Frosting
  1. Mix together sugar and butter until creamy.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute.
  3. If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste or more confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency.
Notes
Original recipe from the Cupcake Project: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/09/ultimate-vanilla-cupcake-test-baked-by.html


ps post script

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25 Responses Post a comment
  1. December 7, 2012

    They’re so pretty. That’s the perfect amount of frosting for me too. Where’d you get the liners?
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes´s deep thought ~ Peppermint Candy Cane BrowniesMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    I think I found those at either Hobby Lobby or Walmart. I can’t remember!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ How to scrape seeds from a vanilla beanMy Profile

    [Reply]

  2. December 7, 2012

    I’m always on the hunt for the perfect plain-jane vanilla cupcakes. This on the list to make for my own B-day :) Which is a pretty big compliment…
    Melissa @ Bless This Mess´s deep thought ~ Homemade Hard Corn Taco ShellsMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Yay! These really are so yummy and super light and fluffy. Hope you like them!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Da Vinci’s take on natureMy Profile

    [Reply]

  3. December 7, 2012

    I’d love to eat a cupcake with you. My family does not eat cake, at all. I get so left out.

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    We shall share a dozen cupcakes in your honor. I’m totally down with that.
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ World Market, Life of Pi & dang easy Indian foodMy Profile

    [Reply]

  4. December 7, 2012

    These were so yummy! Both Adam AND Mr. T approved. :)
    Kristina P.´s deep thought ~ My Blog is Just Like "The Satanic Verses"My Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Well then it’s a truly successful recipe–yay!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Gingerbread house contest & linky party!My Profile

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    Lindsey from therhouse.com Reply:

    WAIT. She fed your cake to the dogs?
    Lindsey from therhouse.com´s deep thought ~ Our JacksonMy Profile

    [Reply]

  5. December 7, 2012

    Emily… your food photography is amazing! I want to eat those off the screen. :)
    jyl from @momitforward´s deep thought ~ Side Dish Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With BaconMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Thanks, Jyl! I still need lots of practice; I’m getting there slowly but surely.
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Utah Food Bank virtual food drive–every comment counts!My Profile

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  6. December 7, 2012

    You make me teary with your love. Truly. These were THE best cupcakes I ever put to my face…and I put two there. So so so so good and the frosting was perfect, even if it was more like 4mm. I approve. YUMMY! Thank you a million times a bajillion! xoxo
    Kim Orlandini´s deep thought ~ Thanksgiving Week in Instagram | Toothpicks in Feet |Birthday BashMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Next time I’ll get the frosting ratio just right. Or maybe leave them plain and bring a tub of frosting so you can frost them however you’d like. Anything–and I mean anything–for you, my friend. xoxo
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Holiday outfits with some sweet rewardsMy Profile

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  7. December 7, 2012

    why didn’t I try them when I had the chance?! kicking myself.
    evonne´s deep thought ~ the one thing I really love.My Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    I’m totally kicking you too… ;) Guess I will just have to make them again!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ How to scrape seeds from a vanilla beanMy Profile

    [Reply]

  8. December 8, 2012

    Most delicious cupcake ever! I am about to bust through my vanilla bean virginity and make these for Mr. D’s birthday tomorrow. They were THAT delicious (and he loves white cake just like Kim does). Now, where to buy those vanilla beans since I didn’t get them on Amazon with my last order.

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Hope he likes them! Check Spoons & Spice, Orson Gygi or Bakers Cash & Carry for those vanilla products. Hopefully they’ll have them!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Pinned & prepped: NOEL Christmas bannerMy Profile

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  9. December 11, 2012

    These are so darling—I love everything vanilla bean :)
    Rachel Cooks´s deep thought ~ {a day in the life} Thrifty Veggie MamaMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Thank you! And I love everything vanilla bean too. :)

    [Reply]

  10. Katie Johnson permalink
    December 28, 2012

    I made these last night & I must say I liked them a lot! I thought they tasted even better the next day after the frosting had set. I’m really picky about cupcakes & I’ve been searing & trying to find a great recipe. I would make these again! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    So glad you liked them! And it’s good to know they’re even better the next day. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  11. January 3, 2013

    These were legit. I am here grabbing the link to share with my cousin in Virginia! XOXO
    Lindsey from therhouse.com´s deep thought ~ Our JacksonMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Make them today!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Slow Cooker Anyday: Chicken taco soupMy Profile

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