Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Vanilla Bean Cupcakes. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The original recipe can be found over at Annie’s Eats.
This week’s recipe was my choice. I’d love to tell you how I stumbled across it – I have some vague recollection of a commenter mentioning them, but it’s entirely possible that I saw it on my own and thought it sounded good, since Annie’s Eats is one of the food blogs I check out on the regular. (Also, I searched the comments and didn’t find the recipe linked or mentioned, so I guess it’s more likely that I found it on my own.)
I guess it’s just going to remain a fascinating mystery, how I discovered this recipe.
ANYway. Your ingredients:
Cake flour, baking powder, salt, 1 vanilla bean, butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Mix your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt – together in a medium bowl and then set it aside.
Put your butter in a large mixing bowl, and then split your vanilla bean, length-wise, scrape out the seeds, and add it to the butter.
May I just take a moment to say that vanilla beans smell SO DAMN GOOD, but holy CRAP are they expensive. I think two vanilla beans were almost $9 at the grocery store. You can (and I have) get them cheaper online, but I didn’t have any on hand and had to shell out the bucks for them.
Beat your butter and vanilla bean seeds together ’til everything’s light and creamy, then scrape down the bowl and beat for another minute.
I followed the instructions exactly, but this was about the point where I wanted to throw myself on the floor and have a temper tantrum. Is there anything more borrrrrrrrrrring than waiting for that one minute to be over? One minute of waiting for the mixer time is like 15 minutes in real time, I swear.
But look at those vanilla bean seeds, distributed through the butter and looking all yummy.
I did not take any pictures of the rest of this process because I was too busy bitching about having to wait for shit to mix. GOD. LIKE I HAVE TIME TO STAND AROUND AND WAIT FOR THIS SHIT. (Spoiler: I DO have time to stand around and wait for this shit, because I am not that important. But I am also a whiny bitch. I know – shocking, right?)
Basically, once your butter and vanilla bean seeds are mixed, you add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
Then you mix in the eggs, one at a time, until the egg is completely mixed in, then scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
(IS IT OVER YET?!)
Then combine the buttermilk and extract together in a measuring cup, and with the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients (the flour and baking powder and salt you set aside earlier) and the wet ingredients (aforementioned buttermilk and vanilla extract) alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix, ’cause you’ll end up with tough cupcakes and then you’ll have to put them in tight t-shirts and teach them to sing the Jet Song. Probably they’d need to learn to smoke, too.
In this recipe, you’re supposed to own things like “cupcake paper liners,” but I do not. I also only have one cupcake tin (some people call it a cupcake tin, I call it a muffin tin, mmhmmm), so I sprayed the hell out of the cups with Baker’s Joy and hoped for the best.
As those cupcakes were cooking, I remembered that I do have two six-cup silicone muffin pans, so I sprayed those with Baker’s Joy and filled ’em up.
I don’t know what the deal was, but the cupcakes in the regular tin cooked faster than the ones in the silicone pan, but the ones in the silicone pan were less ugly than the ones in the regular tin.
MYSTERIES ABOUND THIS WEEK AT DCEP, Y’ALL. Someone call the Scooby Gang!
Silicone-pan cupcakes on the top, regular tin-baked cupcakes on the bottom.
I let ’em cool, and then I made frosting. Because I am a dumbass who let the supply of confectioner’s sugar run low, I made a half batch of my favorite frosting recipe – this one right here – and added a tablespoon of cocoa to it, so we’d have chocolate frosting. Then I stuffed the frosting in a plastic sandwich bag, cut off a corner of the bag, and piped (glopped) frosting onto the cupcakes.
I totally meant to make it look like that. I swear it! (LIE.)
The verdict? First of all, I think that maybe I need to realize that I’m just not a cupcake person. They’re such a pain in the ass to eat and I always end up with frosting on my nose. I guess I’m really more of a cake person.
These cupcakes were okay, but I don’t know that I loved them that much. They didn’t knock me over with flavorful vanilla yumminess. I might have liked them much better if I’d just used the batter to make a cake instead. (I should add here that the batter, before baking, was outstanding and I should have just eaten it that way.) Fred was kind of lukewarm on them, too – but the chickens (and the dogs, who each got an unfrosted cupcake) thought they were pretty awesome!
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Let me start out by saying that in order for me to make this recipe I had to pay $13.78 for TWO (2) freaking vanilla beans. And we’re not even going to discuss how much gas I wasted trying to track these fuckers down.
A while ago I bought powdered buttermilk because I hate making a special trip to the store just to get it (see: biscuit recipe). I also thought it would be handy for the thousands of recipes out there that call for buttermilk. I guess I was wildly optimistic since I haven’t made shit that involved buttermilk until now. This is me showing you what it looked like before I mixed it. Shake yo’ shit in a jar (with a lid!) and call it done. I didn’t even need to plug in my immersion blender. Imagine that.
Cake flour is another thing I do not keep in stock. $3.89 – I don’t know if that’s a good price or not. I was just annoyed that I was buying special flour, but seeing the recipe for raspberry cake on the back helped ease my mind. I’m going to have to try it since The FredMonster (aka: Robyn’s husband) never made his special raspberry cake for on here.
Pro-tip: Paper-clips aren’t just for the office. I use them all the time in the kitchen.
I scraped the shit out of that vanilla bean in order to get my $6.89 worth!
Whipped butter with vanilla beans. I know that you’re impressed.
I was a little annoyed with this recipe because the original author wrote it with the implication that everyone owns a KitchenAid mixer. Not everyone has $300-$500 to blow on a kitchen mixer for chrissakes! Full Disclosure: I own the 6-quart mother of all KitchenAid mixers. But I still sincerely think that a lot of food bloggers are being pretentious and downright ridiculous with their inspired recipes. Two perfect examples: Vanilla beans, but then you have to add a tablespoon of vanilla extract (because everyone knows that a vanilla bean straight out of the pod doesn’t really flavor shit). Or the use of a KitchenAid mixer along with the special paddle attachment? I have one of those, too. DID NOT NEED. I used my good ol’ General Electric mixer that I bought at a thrift store.
My point is that our aunts, mothers, grandmother’s, etc., did not have all these bullshit implements and yet they still managed to make great food. I don’t want anyone that is sitting out there without a KitchenAid thinking that they can’t make these freaking cupcakes.
Behind the scenes at DCEP: All this and I still can’t take a decent picture. This recipe, once you get past the pretentious bullshit, was easy to make.
More full disclosure: I was not about to add to the cost of these cupcakes so I just bought a can of frosting instead of making my usual recipe. I do not like sprinkles, but this can was on sale. I already spent $13.78 on vanilla beans, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?
One of the real reasons why I don’t enjoy making cupcakes. There is something in my DNA that sends my brain into a tailspin when batter doesn’t go perfectly into the liner. Those drips on the sides of the liner up there made me feel like I had to go lay down with a wet cloth on my head.
Baked for exactly 18 minutes.
As you can see, Waldo is fascinated with what was going on in the kitchen. It’s really kind of embarrassing having a doofus for a cat.
Meet the newest member of Dysfunction Junction! Waldo loves her and they are best buds. If you’re following me on my Facebook, you already know who this is, but I’ll give the quick and dirty version for others.
My son picked up a stray that was walking across the bridge late at night. It had a collar with a license on it. The dog was in such bad shape that we thought the vet would euthanize it when we took it to be seen the next day. We also contacted the owner through the county that it was registered and they denied, denied, denied owning it! I’m guessing that a 12-year old beagle that has been bred to death, is deaf and blind in one eye isn’t worth much anymore. Nevermind the yeast and bacterial infections, along with being just plain ravaged and scarred (not photographed because I’m projecting vanity on her). Blech, this is a food blog – I will bitch no more. Just know that in my heart I’m a hating whore and I really think that some people should be jailed for what they do to animals.
Two weeks later. It’s amazing what food, medicine and lots of care by humans can do. She’s not completely healed, but she’s doing so much better.
Trey insisted on naming her Peace. Something about her going through a war, blahblabhblah. It doesn’t matter because she can’t hear us call her name. We do a lot of waving our hands now, but we have to make sure we’re on the side of her good eye. She’s such a sweetheart that none of us really mind the hassle.
Half-blind beagle immediately steps on cupcake and then flings it.
Is eating it although foot in foreground is stuffed full of tie-dyed icing.
Peace thought it was good. Everyone else in the family said that the cupcake was TOO DAMN DRY. I baked them for the minimum amount of time so it’s not like the dryness was due to over baking. This recipe is getting shit-canned and the search for the perfect cupcake recipe will continue.
PS: I can’t make a pretty cupcake to save my life.
- 3 c. cake flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter (also known as 1 cup or 2 sticks), at room temperature
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¼ c. buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners OR spray cups with cooking spray (I recommend Baker's Joy)
- In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- Add butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer and discard the pod. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy colored. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
- Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ c. at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.
- Add the eggs one at a time until well mixed in; scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup or bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix just until incorporated; do not overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners or sprayed cups, filling each about ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake 18 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pans 5 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Replace paper liners (or wipe out used tin and re-spray with cooking spray) and bake remaining batter if desired.
- Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.