Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes + San Francisco

I spent the past weekend exploring + eating my way through the city of San Francisco. I'm embarrassed to admit that I gained 3-5 lbs in just a few days by eating delicious meals that I immediately followed with some form of delicious sweet treat. And I mean every meal. Breakfast was followed by lemon-almond tea loaf at Tartine, lunch was followed by cream puffs at Thorough Bread + Pastry and dinner was finished with moscato-marinated strawberry mascarpone tart AND chocolate gelato with amaretti. I'm leaving out the details of each fabulous meal and all the snacks that shamefully snuck in there as well because, frankly if you read how much I actually consumed you would be shocked or amazed, or both.

For those who don't know, this September I am making a cross-country move from Chicago to San Fran to attend a professional bread + pastry program at the San Francisco Baking Institute. After checking out my new city, I could not be more excited! Upon my arrival home I had a request for a cupcake order. So here I share the recipe for fabulous vanilla bean cupcakes + rich chocolate frosting. The richness of the frosting is cut by the not-too-sweet vanilla cake. Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

from Annie's Eats

3 cups cake flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.) Bake 18-22 minutes**, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

**I made mini cupcakes, baked to perfection in 13 minutes.

Rich Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 stick salted butter, softened

1 cup shortening

1 tbsp vanilla

2 lbs powdered sugar

4-6 tbsp milk

12 oz. good qualitysemi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

3-4 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

2-3 tbsp Kahlua

Whip together butter and shortening until smooth. Add in vanilla. Whip in confectioners sugar 1/4 at a time until it's all added. Pour cooled chocolate and cocoa in and mix until combined. Add milk one table spoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Mix in Kahlua and whip until light and fluffy.


  1. Glad you had a great time in San Francisco. Looking forward to your new treats while you are out here! Andy and I will be good taste testers.

  2. How lovely! I'm heading to SF in a couple weeks and I just cant wait to eat all of the goodies.

  3. Your cupcakes are super-duper cute!
    San Francisco is lovely, I'm sure you'll going to the pastry school.