I’ve previously extolled the virtues of real vanilla beans in posts about Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Vanilla Cashew Sorbet and Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate. If you’ve never used real vanilla beans and have instead relied on artificial extract you really don’t know what you’re missing. The flavour is completely different. The only problem is that once you get a taste of what real vanilla beans add to desserts you’ll never want to live without them. Like with these cupcakes, once they’re gone, you’ll miss them.
Amy Sedaris’ Vanilla Cupcakes**
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk
Put a pot on medium heat and pour in the milk. Cut open your vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the pot and add the beans. Bring milk to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Remove the vanilla stalks and save them for another use, (like making vanilla sugar).
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, salt and baking powder. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.
Makes 1 dozen large cupcakes.
**I modified the recipe to be made with a real vanilla bean instead of extract. If you want to use extract, just add 2 tsp vanilla extract to the batter after the eggs and ignore the part about heating the milk. I opted to use a simple vanilla buttercream icing, (the recipe for which I cannot currently locate…) to top the cupcakes, but feel free to use whatever you like.
As luck would have it, this month's Sugar High Friday theme is also cupcakes. Fanny of Foodbeam is on a quest to prove that cupcakes can be as tasty as they look. These cupcakes are certainly proof of that. If you're missing cupcakes too and want to see a whole lot more of them, just hop on over to Fanny's site around the end of the month.