Vanilla Bean Cupcakes – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

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.

Robyn’s Take:

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.


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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Nance’s Take:
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Pro-tip: Paper-clips aren’t just for the office. I use them all the time in the kitchen.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

I scraped the shit out of that vanilla bean in order to get my $6.89 worth!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean 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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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?

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Baked for exactly 18 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Half-blind beagle immediately steps on cupcake and then flings it.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Is eating it although foot in foreground is stuffed full of tie-dyed icing.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
PS:  I can’t make a pretty cupcake to save my life.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, mate
Serves: 30
  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners OR spray cups with cooking spray (I recommend Baker's Joy)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ c. at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time until well mixed in; scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. 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.
  7. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners or sprayed cups, filling each about ⅔ of the way full.
  8. Bake 18 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in the pans 5 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Replace paper liners (or wipe out used tin and re-spray with cooking spray) and bake remaining batter if desired.
  11. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.


Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – Nance & Robyn make the same recipe.

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, found over at Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice, because November 10th is National Vanilla Cupcake Day. Since I love most form of cake, I was totally on board for this.

First, we make the cupcakes. Ingredients:

Cupcakes (1)

Cake flour, butter, eggs, baking powder, milk, homemade vanilla.

Sift together your flour, salt, and baking powder. I didn’t take a picture of the sifting, because my sifter is an ugly mess – but it works well, so I ain’t replacing it.

Cupcakes (2)

Throw your butter and sugar into a bowl and then beat it ’til it’s light and fluffy. Or in fancy-bitch cooking parlance, cream the butter and sugar.

Cupcakes (3)

Cupcakes (4)

And then I had a brain fart and didn’t take another picture of the cupcakes ’til they were baked. I added the eggs, beating well after each one, then added the flour/salt/baking powder in three portions, beating just until the flour was incorporated.

I imagine you know what cupcake batter poured into a cupcake tin looks like. If not, well, don’t sit there and be all “I do NOT know what cupcake batter looks like. Halp? Can someone tell me?” Google that shit!

While the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. The ingredients:

Cupcakes (6)

Cream cheese (I used neufchatel because it’s what I always grab, and suddenly I’m realizing maybe why I had an issue. More about that later.), butter, powdered sugar, vanilla.

Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla, then slowly add the sugar.

Cupcakes (7)

Cupcakes (8)
“HEY! I like frosting!”

Cupcakes (9)
“Me too! Give us the frosting, lady, and no one gets hurt.”

I put the frosting in the fridge, as directed, and a while later the cupcakes were done.

Cupcakes (10)

See those silicone cupcake liners? They are a FUCKING NIGHTMARE to get off of baked cupcakes, and I DO NOT RECOMMEND using them. I bought them to use to freeze eggs, and they work wonderfully for that. They held up well for the baking of the cupcakes, but like I said – total nightmare to peel off the baked cupcakes. TWO THUMBS DOWN, silicone liners.

Cupcakes (11)

So the frosting sat in the fridge for about half an hour, and then Fred and I each tasted it. It was not sweet at ALL. Which, I’m sorry, what is the point of having frosting if it isn’t going to be sweet? So we added more sugar and then more sugar, until we reached the desired sweetness. We ended up adding 3/4 cup more of confectioner’s sugar, in addition to the 1 cup the recipe called for.

I chilled the frosting for another half hour, then another half hour after that. It was still pretty soft, but I was tired of waiting, so I loaded it into my handy dandy plastic storage bag, cut the tip off one corner, and frosted the cupcakes.

Cupcakes (12)

Cupcakes (13)

Clearly I am no fancypants when it comes to frosting cupcakes, but like I said – the frosting was pretty soft. It actually seemed to get softer after I frosted them, so I ended up putting the frosted cupcakes in storage containers and keeping them in the fridge.

I’m thinking that using neufchatel cheese in the frosting might have been a mistake, because I think it’s softer than full-fat cream cheese (I THINK – I so rarely use regular cream cheese that I might be making that up). I thought for a while that adding the extra sugar did it, but I would think that the sugar would have made it stiffer, so who the hell knows?

The verdict: the cupcake part was really really good, but neither of us is a huge fan of cream cheese icing. I’ll definitely make the cupcakes again, but next time I’ll either make buttercream frosting or (Fred’s idea) chocolate buttercream frosting.

Cream cheese frosting or not, we ate plenty of the cupcakes and gave the rest to the chickens.


Nance’s Take:


Whew, boy! A picture of my mixer creaming the butter and sugar in this recipe. It sure doesn’t get much more exciting than this, does it?

Vanilla cupcakes. It’s a thing for me because I have yet to find the perfect cupcake recipe.  I need it to go with a swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe that I already have and love. The frosting recipe is one that just won’t do on any old cupcake so I have been on the hunt for a while now. Which is why I picked this recipe.  And we’re making it here because November 10 is National Vanilla Cupcake Day.  Get your shit together, people.


I mixed it up like the recipe said and I ended up with this.  As per my usual, I’m counting on Robyn to give everyone the exact details of this recipe. Think of her as the goody-two-shoes that is eager to please and think of me as the asshole in the back of the classroom.


I was a little annoyed that the recipe didn’t say how much batter to put in the cupcake liners. Please note: I was making an educated (ha, NOT) guess here and trying to err on the side of NOT fucking up my cupcake pan with spill-overs.  The good news:  I didn’t mess up my pan.  The bad news:  They were not the kind of cupcakes you see in the store.

But I was still getting all excited because…CUPCAKES WERE IN DA HOUSE!


I ended up asking Robyn if she had made the cream cheese frosting that came with the cupcake recipe (we don’t normally discuss the recipes that we’re making). When I found out she had that part of the recipe covered I decided to go ahead and make my own swiss meringue frosting.  It’s pretty, huh? The recipe takes an entire pound of butter. So it’s not only pretty, but delicious (and really bad for you).


The first cupcake. Short as shit. Please note that CRUST underneath the icing. I baked them for exactly 20 minutes like the recipe said. I’m sorry, but cupcakes should not crunch when you bite into them.  On the second batch I filled the liners up more, baked for 20 minutes and they still had a crunch.  And also, they were dry, dry, dry the whole way through!


I tried sprinkles to make them look prettier and they just ended up looking like sad, sad cupcakes with sprinkles. Sigh.


All hail The Cupcake Queen!


Felina’s willing to take one for the team.


Her eyes tell me that she thought the frosting was pretty tasty.


This is your brain on drugs. Sugar highs are not to be taken lightly.

Here’s the deal…I followed the recipe exactly and it didn’t work out for me. I have no idea (but I will soon) how Robyn’s turned out, but my copy of this recipe went straight to the garbage can. Everybody in the house tried them and they all agreed that they sucked (but the frosting was good, heh). I personally thought that these would be great if you like the taste of day old biscuits.  This recipe is definitely NOT a keeper for me.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - Nance & Robyn make the same recipe.
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Original Source/Author:
: dessert, snack
Serves: 16
  • Cupcakes
  • 16 paper cupcake liners (Robyn does not recommend silicone cups because they're a pain in the ass)
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (Note: 1 c. confectioner's sugar is not going to give you a very sweet frosting. Robyn recommends you add an additional ¾ - 1 c. confectioner's sugar.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with paper muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
  3. With mixer on low speed, beat in the milk and vanilla until just combined. Add flour in three portions, beating just until incorporated each time.
  4. Fill each muffin ⅔ full and bake for about 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool cupcakes in the pan on a rack for five minutes; then remove them to a rack. Leave the liners on the cupcakes (note from Robyn: I do not see what difference leaving the liners on or taking them off could possibly make, but what do I know?)
  6. While the cupcakes are baking, make the cream cheese frosting.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 15 minutes.
  8. If you're super organized and want to, you can make the frosting up to 2 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. (Make sure you store it in a well-sealed container so that it doesn't end up tasting like that onion you left in there a month ago and forgot about, which is slowly rotting. Mmm, rotting onion frosting!)
  9. Frost the cupcakes. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator.