Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vanilla Sky

Vanilla bean cake with mystical swirls of vanilla bean frosting

I had originally set out to make comet cupcakes in honor of Comet McNaught which is gracing our night sky near the constellation Perseus. The atmosphere around the coma of the comet is actually bigger than the planet Jupiter! However, I was craving vanilla bean cupcakes and I couldn't bring myself to name them comet cakes since I envisioned the perfect embodiment of a comet-esq cupcake complete with a coma and tail, which these were not. I still do plan to make the comet cakes in the near future, I've just been preoccupied enjoying the summer time and much needed break from school. Besides that my apartment is unbelievably hot during the summer months. I like to think of it as a brick oven preheating all day and retaining all of that heat at night making baking a bit of a daunting task. In fact as I'm typing this I have two fans blowing on me simultaneously... I'm one step away from placing a tray of ice in front of said fans.

The vanilla bean cupcakes that I did manage to bake in my very hot apartment were very delicious. I packed them on a recent trip to the mountains that I went on with some friends to view Comet McNaught (the irony!!) and stargaze. I decided it be fitting that these scrumptious vanilla cupcakes be named after one of my favorite movies of all time, Vanilla Sky.

I altered the recipe using Earth Balance which is a healthier alternative to butter that has no cholesterol or hydrogenated oils. I've been experimenting with swapping out ingredients in favor of healthier alternatives... Soon I plan to venture into making completely vegan cupcakes for my vegan friend Paul. Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Cake:
(makes about 18, adapted from Good Things Catered)
1 1/2 c cake flour, sifted
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature (try Earth Balance instead)
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 c whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Frosting:
1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with baking cups
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk together to combine thoroughly, set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
4. Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition.
6. Add innards of the vanilla bean and extract.
7. Turn mixer to low and alternatively add milk and flour mixture until fully incorporated.
8. Divide batter among baking cups (fill about 3/4 full).

Look at those luscious vanilla bean flakes!

9. Bake for about 20 minutes
10. Remove from over and let cool completely prior to frosting.

I swear I let the cupcakes cool completely prior to frosting... I blame my hot apartment for the frosting meltage.

I used the cutest all natural sprinkles to decorate with :o)

Beat the butter in a medium sized bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; add vanilla bean innards and salt. Beat in powdered sugar and milk in two batches. If the frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.

To illustrate the explosion of flavor these cupcakes pack

The Vanilla Sky soundtrack made for some laid back baking vibes

No comments:

Post a Comment