Vanilla Cupcakes


My oldest daughter is a vanilla girl.  Won’t touch “brown chocolate” except for the occasional  smartie.  She doesn’t even like frosting so when I make vanilla cupcakes they need to be good.  It needs to be all about the cupcake.  I have been playing around  with a  couple  of different recipes and came up with  this one.  It’s  the one.   Vanilla is a common flavor and is often not done very well, but vanilla done well can be fantastic.  I love frosting and  this cupcake is so  full of vanilla flavor that I was totally happy to just eat the cake part.   Of course  what is a  cupcake without the frosting?  So I frosted them and they were even better.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup of milk

1/2  of one vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 salt

1. Cream together the butter and sugar.  When well mixed add the eggs one at a time and mix.  Add the vanilla and set aside.

2. Slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape the seeds out.  put the seeds and the pod in the  milk and heat on the stove over medium.  When the milk has been  simmering  for a  few minutes remove from heat.  Take  the vanilla pod out and cool.

3.  In a  bowl mix the dry ingredients together.

4. Add half the flour mixture to the  butter/sugar/egg mix.  Stir in the milk and then add the rest of  flour mix.

5. Bake at 350 degrees  for 16 minutes,  don’t over bake them or they will be dry.

6. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting recipe.



My Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is definitely one of my favorites.  I love the sweetness and the tang of it.  I also love how versatile it is.  I use it for cinnamon buns,  carrot cake, a bunch of cupcake flavors, cookies, doughnut filling and more.  Best of all it’s easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

2 tbsp milk

4 cups powdered sugar

Mix the cream cheese, butter and milk together.  Gradually add the powdered sugar.  When the sugar is mixed in beat it on high for about 5 minutes until fluffy.

If you are going to just spread it that’s all.  If you would like to pipe it then  putting it in the fridge for about an hour  prior to use will make it much easier to work with.

If you would like to use it for cinnamon buns reduce the milk  powdered sugar by half.  This gives it a nice consistency  when you put it on the warm buns.

Depending on what I am using the frosting for I will add flavorings (vanilla, Lemon zest, Orange zest, Kahlua). One day I will tackle Italian butter cream,  marshmallow frosting and fondant too, but for now I will stick to my cream cheese frosting.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes. Seriously.

I love sweets   Seriously love them.  Cupcakes , caramels, chocolate, you name and I probably love it.  So when a craving hits and I have nothing on hand to satisfy it I head to my baking binder and start flipping.

Over the years I have collected many recipes from magazines, friends and family and therefore I have a lot that are not so mainstream.  This would be one of those.   In the spirit of being adventurous I thought I would give them a try and I am glad I did.  They were sweet, with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon flour.  I enjoyed them (a lot) but I think they would be fantastic in the fall.  Super yummy comfort food.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

4 large eggs

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place pecans in a pan and bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until toasted.  Stir once or twice to prevent burning.

2. Beat sugar and butter until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each egg.

3. Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, milk, and vanilla extract. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in toasted pecans.

4.Place baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with vegetable cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.

5. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a  toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove immediately from pans, and cool. Spread cupcakes evenly with Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish with a roasted peacan.

Enjoy one, or two. Whatever. They are made with vegetables so they are guilt free.