Monday, July 26, 2010

Vanilla Princess Cupcakes

One of my coworkers recently asked me to make cupcakes for her daughter and I was thrilled! She liked the simple crown cupcakes I made a few weeks ago for my neighbor and asked me to make something similar. Her daughter picked out a princess theme, so I set out to make the cutest, girliest cupcakes that I could. And, I think I succeeded. I was really happy with the way these turned out. I made vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream. I toped them with pink and purple crowns and rimmed the sides of the cupcakes with pink and purple sprinkles and sanding sugars. I finished them with pink edible pearls. The only thing I worried about was the weather. It's been in the 90s here with humidity so thick you can cut it with a knife. As soon as these cupcakes were frosted, I had to pop them in the fridge so they didn't melt. I worried all night about the sanding sugar and sprinkles melting and bleeding. Thankfully they all stayed perfect.

I used a new vanilla recipe for these cupcakes and was not disappointed like I have been recently with vanilla cupcake recipes. This one was moist and not too dense. It didn't rise as much as I would have liked, but I would definitely make this recipe again. I altered the recipe a bit since I didn't have any vanilla beans. I omitted the bean and doubled the vanilla extract. The verdict: very yummy with a distinct vanilla flavor. I topped them with my favorite vanilla buttercream.

Vanilla Cupcakes
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
(makes about 30 cupcakes)

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omitted since I used salted butter.)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I omitted.)
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
5 eggs (room temperature)
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk (room temperature)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I used 2 tablespoons.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

If using, scrape the vanilla bean seeds into another bowl with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat butter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes (with either a hand mixer or stand mixer), until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the eggs one, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Combine buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. Beating on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, and ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full (I had enough batter for a half-dozen more cupcakes) Bake 18 - 22 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

My Favorite Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons water

Cream the butter. Add vanilla and water. Beat well. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.

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