Celebrating the Start

Hello all! I am celebrating the start of a few things today. First, I am celebrating the start of a new baking blog! Second, I am celebrating the end of another semester of classes and the start of sweet summertime! Finally, I am celebrating two people deciding to start a new life together! My sister’s best friend from high school is getting married this summer. This past weekend, my sister threw her a bridal shower. She asked me to bake, and I of course said yes!

When asked to make cupcakes, I knew the perfect recipe. I found a delicious vanilla bean cupcake + vanilla bean buttercream recipe a few months ago. My family loved them when I made them for a birthday celebration. A few weeks ago, my best friend Samantha and I entered a baking competition at our school. While racking out brains for the perfect recipe, we decided upon the vanilla bean cupcakes with the added pizzazz of a homemade strawberry sauce. We spent an entire Friday afternoon baking over 200 mini cupcakes, and…

WE WON!

Based on all of the rave reviews, I knew these cupcakes were just perfect for the shower! The key to the cupcakes and buttercream is the addition of vanilla beans. Before trying this recipe, I had never used them. Unfortunately, they are very expensive. However, they add soo much to these cupcakes. Do not pass up on this key ingredient. I promise they add so much flavor and the little specks of black all throughout the white cake make them seem very fancy.

Directions to remove the vanilla bean seeds from the pod: First, cut the pod lengthwise to expose the vanilla beans inside. Next, using the back of your knife, scrape the length of the vanilla bean. The seeds will collect on your knife.

The strawberry sauce adds a whole new dimension of flavor to this recipe. I recommend doubling the recipe and using it as a topping for ice cream, cheesecake, yogurt, or anything else humanly possible. Really, it’s that good. It also helps to have such wonderful strawberries this time of year! Look at these beauties…

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Source: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/vanilla-bean-cupcakes-recipe/

Ingredients for 20-22 cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups whole milk (kept out for a couple of hours to cool down, preferably at room temperature)

4 egg whites (room temperature)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with liners or spray with non-stick spray.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. This breaks up any lumps and also helps incorporate these ingredients.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and the eggs.

4. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla beans on medium speed until they are light and fluffy (around 3-4 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add 1/2 of the milk mixture, beating until incorporated. Alternate with the remaining 1/2 of the flour mixture, remainder of milk mixture, and remainder of flour mixture. Make sure that each component is fully mixed in before moving on to the next step.

5. Beat for another 2-3 minutes to ensure that everything is fully incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

6. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 of the way full. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes. They are fully baked when a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

Source: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/vanilla-bean-cupcakes-recipe/

Ingredients:

3 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or whole milk

Method:

1. With a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat the butter and vanilla beans on medium-to-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until they are light and fluffy.

2. Set the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until fully incorporated.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of the cream or milk. Beat on medium speed. Add 1-2 more tablespoons, depending on the desired consistency. Beat on high speed until the frosting is fluffy. Pipe or spread on to the cupcakes.

Strawberry Sauce

Source: http://www.ambrosiabaking.com/2012/03/simple-homemade-strawberry-sauce.html

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut into halves or quarters (depending on the size of berries and desired consistency of sauce)

1/4  cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

juice of 1 lime

cornstarch (the exact measurement depends on the amount of juice the berries release. I had very ripe strawberries and therefore used around 3 teaspoons)

Method:

1. Put strawberries, sugar, water, and lime juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the berries break down and the mixture is simmering.

2. Add cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Be sure to add the cornstarch AT THIS POINT. If you add it later in the cooking process, it will not incorporate correctly and small cornstarch balls will form.

3. Cook for 10 minutes. Take off heat. Allow to cool at room temperature and keep extra sauce refrigerated.

Happy Baking!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Celebrating the Start

  1. Seriously. The strawberry sauce makes you question why god made you wait 20 years (luckily for me not any more!) to discover such ecstasy!! I will be finding any excuse possible to convince you to bake these next year. Completed homework assignment?!? Vanilla bean cupcake time!!!

Sweet Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s