This independence day, I was determined to do something that would set the bars high for myself. In other words (for my friends at least) I promised everyone cupcakes for fourth of July. This was a small problem for me. When you’re entertaining a group of college students each with strikingly picky taste buds, and preferring a different pallet of flavors, it becomes increasingly difficult to find something that will please everyone.
I set the bar high for myself, so I set the bar high for these cupcakes… these cupcakes had to be something everyone would like. They also had to fit the theme of the day – red, white, and blue.With popular choices (like anything red velvet) ruled out, I turned to a classic, a traditional, a classy flavor: vanilla. But I wasn’t ready to settle with imitation or even pure vanilla extract. It had to be the real deal.
I’ll be revealing the cupcake I made for the fourth in tomorrow’s post but for now, here’s a little tease.
The original can be found over at Cupcake Project where commenters regarded this recipe to taste like melted vanilla ice cream. I tweaked the recipe to use both vanilla bean and extract instead of vanilla paste because it creates full bodied flavor with multiple dimensions.
This recipe results in a buttercream good enough to eat with a spoon, pipped on top of strawberries, or smothered on top of what might be the best vanilla cupcake I’ve ever had.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Adapted from Cupcake Project
Makes: enough to frost 16 cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (add more until it reaches your preferred consistency)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high using the paddle attachment until fluffy.
- Add the confectioners sugar and whip on low until smooth and combined.
- While the sugar is combining, scrape out the beans from the vanilla pod and add it into the mixing bowl.
- When the sugar is combined, add the vanilla extract and milk and beat on medium high until smooth and fluffy.
- Add more confectioner’s sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.