Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can't stop baking!

So I'm attempting to blog again lol. I have a lot of time on my hands recently since the restaurant I worked at decided to close. I'm jobless til fall or at least til I find another restaurant. Meanwhile, I'm taking advantage of my time off by baking! I'm still obsessed with cupcakes and I have been researching recipes and there are so many I want to make! I really would like to open my own cupcake shop or at least cater to weddings and events. Who knows...

Well, last week I used Magnolia's vanilla cupcake recipe to make vanilla bean cupcakes with two different frostings. One with a vanilla bean frosting and another with lemon frosting and a lavender glaze. I'm hooked on fresh vanilla beans and lavender right now! They were one of my best batches! I got rave reviews from all my friends and family who tried them. I posted the recipes I used below :)

(The cupcakes w/ heart sprinkles are the vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting, the purple cupcakes are topped with lemon frosting and lavender glaze)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
(adapted from Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes recipe)

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 of a fresh vanilla bean (this is the part I added)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. *Add half of the scooped out vanilla bean. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream
(adapted from Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 fresh vanilla bean (I added this part)

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of a good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. *Scoop out the inside of half of a vanilla bean and incorporate it into the butter cream.

(Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Fresh Lemon Buttercream
Use the same recipe as above, but instead of the vanilla bean, juice 1/2 of a medium lemon. Strain out the seeds and pulp and add too the buttercream. Add lemon zest for even more flavor.

Lavender Glaze
(from Martha Stewart)

1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Violet gel-paste food coloring (regular food color worked fine for me)
*I cut this recipe in half - it makes alot

Bring milk and lavender just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and let steep 10 minutes. Strain, and discard lavender. Whisk in sugar until smooth. Add food coloring until desired shade. Use immediately. (I drizzled the glaze over the lemon frosting, and I think it would taste just as good on the vanilla or by itself)

I'm thinking I need to experiment with some chocolate this week. I'm feeling chocolate and strawberries :) <3 Cara

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