Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcakes, Creation #7

I know I can be a little overzealous with flavors, so I have tried to dial it back a bit and just make the basics. What’s the most basic flavor: vanilla. I use vanilla bean paste, if don’t have any, get some, it is amazing!

Vanilla Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup  granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups  all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 15-20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with buttercream.

Italian buttercream (the finest of buttercreams)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (1 cup) sugar
  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) water
  • 4 oz (4 whites) egg whites
  • 10 oz (1-1/2 cups) butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook the sugar to 220 degrees (high altitude), 240 degrees (sea level).
  2. While your syrup is boiling, whip the whites and sugar (1 oz) on medium speed of your stand mixer to soft peaks. This is a timing issue, so watch them carefully. If you overbeat your whites before your syrup reaches temperature, they’ll be grainy and dumb. Adjust the speed of the mixer up or down and try to get your whites to the perfect consistency at the same time your sugar reaches desired temperature.
  3. When the syrup is ready, with mixer on medium low, pour syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the mixing bowl. This will give the syrup a chance to cool off a bit as well as keeping the syrup from getting spun all over the sides of the mixer by the whisk attachment.
  4. Turn mixer to high and whip until whites are completely cool and hold firm peaks.
  5. Add the softened butter, a bit at a time making sure one addition is blended in before adding the next.
  6. Beat in vanilla.
  7. Pipe on cupcakes, decorate sprinkles if you want to get crazy!

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