Vanilla Bean Latte Cupcakes

Well, yesterday I wanted to make bagels, and this is what I ended up with.  I told myself I wouldn’t make anything I didn’t have all the ingredients for (I had done major shopping just the day before, so it seemed ridiculous to go to the store again).

After getting home from church, I realized I could probably make some sort of dessert with what I had on hand, and that was when I remembered this recipe I pinned on Pinterest a few days ago.  Naturally, I didn’t have enough butter (six [SIX] sticks), so I did go to the little gas station store by my house… but that doesn’t count!

This recipe was for a 3 layer cake, but since I knew I would have to give away 3/4 of the goods, I figured cupcakes was a better choice.  I made zero adjustments to the recipe, just cut the cook time down and they were done!

I think I’ve decided that swiss buttercream is not my favorite icing.  The idea of it, the process of making it, all good… it just tastes too much like straight butter to me (and I’m not alone, according to my husband).  I actually sprinkled a little espresso powder on top, as I think these can handle the bitterness, and I’m still convinced they could take a little more in the frosting itself.  All in all, they are fantastic, although next time I may try a different coffee frosting recipe.

Oh, and I must mention that I actually weighed all the ingredients for the first time ever!  I’m a pretty lazy measure-er, but know I should be more precise when it comes to something like baking.  While I can’t compare it to a time I didn’t weigh the ingredients, I’m sure it contributed to the great results!

Vanilla Bean Latte Cupcakes

Source: http://sweetapolita.com/2011/05/vanilla-bean-latte-layer-cake/

  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups (540 g) granulated sugar
  • 9 (275 g) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups (630 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (22 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, OR 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg whites gradually, mixing until each is fully incorporated.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix vanilla extract and vanilla paste (or contents of vanilla bean) into buttermilk.  Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated or finish by hand gently.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan on a digital kitchen scale to ensure even layers.  Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes clean. Try not to over-bake. Let pans cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream         

  • 6 large egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped OR 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) instant espresso powder (or to taste) dissolved into 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) boiling water
  • Pinch or two of cinnamon (to taste)
  • Pinch of salt

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. *Be sure the bottom of the mixer bowl is neutral, not warm, before you begin adding the butter. Also, just a note that did you know you can’t overbeat meringue once the sugar is added? So don’t be afraid to really whip it until it’s cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened (but cool) butter in chunks, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth–I promise!).  If too soft, chill bowl until cool, then try again until the right consistency. If for some reason, you can’t get it to thicken up, even after it’s nice and chilled, you can add a few cubes of cool butter and whip a bit more. Add flavourings and salt, then mix well.

Please make sure to check out the site this recipe is from.  There are a ton of fantastic dessert recipes and the pictures are just beautiful!

PS- Tell me the truth, am I the messiest cook ever?

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