Monday, September 26, 2011

Yummy Vanilla Bean Yellow Cupcakes And Creamy Buttercream Frosting

Wow things have been so busy here!!! colds have popped up here in our household and they keep me running to and fro.
My oldest has just started pre-school and is loving it (although I'm pretty sure they are the culprit for these awful colds...sigh) anyhow he started preschool and attends in the mornings which gives me some good time with my youngest son as well as more time to sit down, drink some pumpkin spice latte and try to remember who I am (kids do that to your brain).
My little joy off to school...

As you might have read in my past blog we moved in to town...and I LOVE it! I just wish the stuff that has accumulated in my living room would magically get up and disappear...wishful thinking!
So that goes to say that my days have been exceedingly busy with kids and trying to get some order in this house of ours...(this would be a great time for mom to come to the rescue...hint...hint lol)

well this week was an official try-out for my very old ancient decrepit oven of mine...(did I mention old and decrepit?) to see if it could handle baking at all, and if so, how much, and how would cupcakes and cakes turn out?  the oven is about 10 years old (I'm guessing) and was owned by a other words it had never been cleaned! it took me two hours and a garbage can full of dirty nasty paper towels to clean it out fully...but thank God it is clean and might I add that it is not smoking anymore...(that's the good news now for the bad)...the oven, however, is not very accurate and it is hard to judge the temperature, I am going to need to use an oven thermometer.
But don't get me wrong I am very very thankful to God for providing me with an oven at all! He has been amazing these past few weeks (well my whole life really ;-)...) He has blessed us so freely and continues to show us his ever present love. I am so grateful and blessed with two beautiful children who challenge me to be a better mother everyday and an amazingly devoted and doting husband who has been such a support to me and a constant encouragement. Thank you God!
A "captivating book!
We have started to read a book together...YES...I finally got him to read!!!!!excitement and overjoyed are not big enough words! and not only are we reading any old book together he is reading "Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul" by by John & Stasi Eldredge it has been an amazing book for me and believe it or not he is enjoying it too!!! if you can get your hands on this book I really recommend it!

Anyways I came here to post about my new favorite recipe for vanilla bean yellow cupcakes, I have been on a vanilla bean craze but hate the pricey beans they sell at the grocery store..yuck!...really? $6 for one bean??? that is highway robbery! anyways thanks to quite a few suggestions online I found a good deal on amazon, not only do you pay less than $0.75 a bean but they arrive plump and fresh! so if you are in need of inexpensive vanilla beans click here for the site (you can store them and also use the empty bean pods for other uses like vanilla sugar or make your own vanilla just smells divine!)

I made these for a birthday party for a very special now 5 year old princess  ;-) the first batch didn't turn out thanks to my ancient '70 mixer  (God I could really use a good kitchen-aid...)
but I made them again and they are divine!

Vanilla Bean Yellow Cupcakes With Creamy Butter Cream Frosting
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups pure cane sugar, divided
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Creamy butter cream frosting, recipe follows
  • Sprinkles and edible pearls, for decorating, if desired


  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill cupcake tins with liners.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, the scraped vanilla beans, and yolks in a medium bowl.
  • In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.
  • With the machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl and dry.
  • Add the flour mixture to the now-empty mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • With the mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the whisk and sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten, and then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain.
  • Fill the cupcake molds 3/4 full and bake until just firm, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Let cool and frost with Creamy butter cream Frosting.
  • Decorate, if desired.
Adapted from bobby flay's recipe

Quick Vanilla Butter cream Frosting


  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional it gives those nice Little black flecks)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


  • In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla bean and vanilla to the cream let stand for 2min. Gradually add the vanilla cream mixture and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

All packaged up and ready for delivery!
Here are some helpful links:

How to split and seed a vanilla bean: click here or for a different version you can click here
Where can I buy vanilla beans: click here
How to store vanilla beans: click here
Uses for the empty vanilla bean pod: click here 
Vanilla extract, paste and sugar recipes: click here

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall is here!!! Pumpkin spice latte cupcakes with vanilla bean caramel to celebrate!

Wow what a mouthful  "Pumpkin spice latte cupcakes with vanilla bean caramel"  but oh my goodness do they ever deserve it!so rich  and gooey and they really do taste like a pumpkin spice latte...
My favorite time of year is here...FALL!!!!, pumpkin spice lattes are back and the stores are stocking up on all the pretties of fall. Orange, browns, yellows and reds are everywhere...the scent of cinnamon and spiced pumpkin are in the air...aaaaaaah...
I love the pumpkin spice lattes and crave them in the fall now that they are back in town I'm ecstatic! but this year I have  take my addiction to these wonderful concoctions a tad further ;-)
why not bring all these lovely flavors into a cupcake? I have been on a cupcake craze lately (I must sincerely apologize for the lack of documentation on all these lovely experiments, my camera has been stashed away in a box for the past couple of weeks due to our sudden move) I have a LOT of work to do and need to definitely brush up on some serious skills (they are dreadfully needed!) but I am proud of the taste all together!
and the caramel is to die for...seriously!! it's fabulous! there is only half a jar left...never ever will I buy caramel sauce again!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Even my husband enjoyed them and he doesn't like coffee! win win all around!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes With Vanilla Bean Caramel:


For the cupcakes:2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

For the whipped cream:2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

For garnish:Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce
chopped pecans

For Caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¼ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place the pan over medium-low heat, watch carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula and gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar has melted, be careful not to over stir.  Measure the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and set aside.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  Whisk in half of the heavy cream along with the vanilla bean seeds carefully.  beware the mixture will steam and bubble violently.  Stir until cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Stir in the salt and the vanilla.  If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. be patient!

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.


Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, espresso powder and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the brown sugar, pumpkin, granulated sugar, and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, mixing just until incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely. Fill a pastry bag with a filling tip with caramel. Fill each cupcake with caramel. top off if necessary.
To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce and top off with chopped pecans
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma
Source: adapted from Cook Like a Champion, originally from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and Annie's eats