I know I go back and forth about cake verses pie on here, but birthdays call for cake. My cousin celebrated her birthday yesterday, so naturally I provided the dessert. I wanted something classic, but also interesting, and vanilla bean lends itself tremendously in the “classic” category. If you read the blog, you know that what I make that week depends largely on what is on sale in the produce section. I had dreamed up a blood orange frosting but I can’t pass up a deal on fresh blueberries.
3 for $5 blueberries. That’s what’s up.
This weekend is just flying by, although I’m feeling a little guilty because I haven’t spent any of it on my bike. Whoops. Yesterday I went to an event at Williams and Sonoma in the Ridgedale Mall with Melissa from thefauxmartha. We made her Sweedish pancakes and styled them and she also introduced me to snapseed for editing photos. The power for the entire mall, plus some of the surrounding neighborhood, went out just as we were supposed to start making pancakes. Luckily she had previously made two as a test so we were able to watch her style them. The power eventually came back on and we finished off the batch. If you haven’t tried her recipe yet, I will say that it’s almost too good to be true. She did everything in the Vitamix and clean up was a breeze. I also got to see this non stick pan in action, and somehow left the store with it. Dan asked me how much it was, and I said “20% off”. Priorities, people.
These cupcakes are moist and vanilla-y and pair well with any flavor frosting. Yes, you do need actual vanilla beans because extract will only get you so far. I found some at Costco a
while back really long time ago. I’m sure they still have them, I just haven’t been to Costco in a while because I’m not out of vanilla beans yet. I rarely ever go to Costco because because for one, we don’t have the storage space for 56 granola bars. Secondly, I can’t stand to eat the same of anything for that long unless it’s the new mint chip brownie Larabars. Lastly, my shopping list would be something like:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Frozen fruit
- Vanilla bean
Four items hardly warrants a trip to Costco when Amazon can deliver toilet paper to my house.
That was a really long excerpt about Costco. What I’m trying to say here is, don’t skimp on the vanilla beans.
Another thing to note about this recipe – if you are piping the frosting, decrease the powdered sugar to two cups. I wanted mine to be a bit stiffer for these cakes, but a slightly thinner frosting would be better for piping. You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store in the fridge. Be aware that you will need to give it some time to thaw to room temperature before frosting the cakes, though.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Blueberry Lemon Buttercream
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Time: 4 hours, 1 hour 15 minutes active
for the cake:
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 6 TBSP coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 vanilla bean pods
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
for the frosting:
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar *
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cup cake tin with liners and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk milk and apple cider vinegar together and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place your vanilla beans on a flat surface, using a paring knife to split the bean in half (the long way). Use a spoon, or your finger, to scrape the pulp away from the bean pod. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Combine sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean pods in a large mixing bowl. Add milk and vinegar mixture and stir to combine. In 1/2 cup increments, add flour mixture to liquid and whisk to combine. After all the dry ingredients have been added, whisk until all the lumps are gone. Be careful not to over mix.
- Distribute batter evenly between cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to remove any air. Bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating the pan half way through for an even bake. Depending on the oven, you might have different bake times, mine was 18 minutes so just watch them as it gets close. Use a toothpick to test if the cupcakes are done by inserting it into the cake. If it comes out clean with no residual batter, then they are done. Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting. I also like to pop mine in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to frosting.
- For the frosting, cream butter and vegetable shortening using a mixer on medium speed until completely combined. Combine zest and juice of the lemon with blueberries in a food processor or blender to obtain puree. Add blueberry puree, vanilla extract, and salt to butter/shortening and stir to combine. On low speed, add sugar in 1/4-1/3 cup increments until completely mixed. If needed, use a spatula to push the mixture down and mix again. Once all ingredients have been combined, whip the frosting on high for about 10 minutes.
- Frost cupcakes after they have cooled completely and top with fresh blueberries, lemon zest, or sprinkles. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!
*to obtain a slightly thinner frosting for piping, decrease powdered sugar to 2 cups