I made these cupcakes for a spring potluck last week and they were pretty tasty. I really wanted to make these so I could use my new vanilla bean paste and see those wonderful vanilla bean specks in the cake and frosting. The vanilla bean paste is a really cool product. I got mine from a local specialty grocery, but you can also order it online. You can use vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla beans and it is much less expensive but still packs a lot of good vanilla flavor. I definitely recommend giving these a try.
VANILLA BEAN CUPCAKES
From Cookie Madness
INGREDIENTS - CUPCAKE
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool and cut into pieces
INGREDIENTS - FROSTING
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Combine egg whites, milk, almond extract and vanilla paste in a large glass liquid measuring cup. Mix with a fork until blended.
3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter and beat on low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 30 seconds longer.
4. Divide batter evenly between cupcake cups. Bake on center rack for 18-20 minutes or until cupcakes test done – a toothpick should come out with moist crumbs. Let cupcakes rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and let them cool on a rack.
5. To make icing, mix together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla bean paste and some of the milk. Beat on high until light and creamy, scraping sides of bowl. Add remaining milk if needed. Taste test and add more sugar, vanilla bean paste or milk to get the consistency you want.