Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vanilla Bean Easter Cupcakes

I promised to make Easter cupcakes this week, and here they are. Since everything I've been making lately has had chocolate in it (not like that's a bad thing), I decided to mix it up and make a vanilla bean cupcake with a vanilla buttercream frosting. I dyed the frosting green to look like grass, and topped the cupcake with my favorite Easter Cadbury eggs. I also topped some with peanut M&Ms for variety. And to add extra detail, I added mini flower sprinkles to the grass. I was so happy with how these turned out. Just note that this recipe makes a ton of mini cupcakes, but I didn't mind since there were plenty to share with neighbors and my husband's co-workers. 

Vanilla Bean Easter Cupcakes
Servings: ~80 mini cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup regular sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp. heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Green food dye
Mini Cadbury eggs or peanut M&Ms
Flower sprinkles

To prepare the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a mini muffin pan with liners. In a small bowl, add the sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Press the sugar and vanilla seeds together against the side of the bowl using the back of a spoon to infuse the flavor and break up any clumps of seeds. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Mix in the vanilla bean sugar. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed for 3 minutes. 

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract together. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until just combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the milk; mix until just combined. (The batter will be liquid.)

Fill the mini cupcake liners 1/2 full. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tbsp. heavy cream. Whip until a smooth, fluffy frosting forms. Add additional cream as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Add food dye until the desired color is reached. Frost the cooled cupcakes with a Wilton 233 tip to make grass. Gently press a mini Cadbury egg or peanut M&M on top of each cupcake. Top with flower sprinkles, if desired.

Source: cupcake from Cupcake Project, frosting adapted from My Baking Addiction

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