Vanilla bean cupcakes with dreamy creamy frosting!

Vanilla is much underrated… we use the term ‘vanilla’ to describe something that’s bland, boring, mundane, run-of-the-mill. Please do not dismiss these gorgeous little cupcakes as any of those things, they are sweet, charming, and ever so elegant! Imagine light, silky cake crumb flavored with the tropical tang of Tahiti, topped with a delicate cream cheese frosting made even better by the addition of good quality white chocolate – now you’re getting the idea, right?

So, the cupcakes are the vanilla cupcake recipe from Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days book (yes, I’m a total Hummingbird fan, just hope I get to try the real thing some day!). They only take a few minutes to make, and are super simple – the vanilla bean is my own addition, and I also double the amount of vanilla extract. You might as well TASTE it, right?

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The little specks of black in the cake are not something that fell in the mixing bowl while I was making them… I swear!

The frosting recipe is from another one of my favourite cookbooks – Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s ‘Rose’s Heavenly Cakes’ (and for anyone that hasn’t read it, let me attest to the heavenliness of her cakes!)

Rose’s Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

85 gm white chocolate, chopped
115 gm cream cheese, softened
30gm butter, softened
1/2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Gently melt the chocolate, and leave to stand while you process the cream cheese, butter and sour cream for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and add the chocolate and vanilla. Pulse it a few times, until it is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.

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This recipe makes about 1 cup. As you can probably tell from the ingredients, it results in a looser frosting and I don’t think it holds its shape so well for piping, so I added approx 3/4 cup of icing sugar too, just to make the mixture slightly stiffer.

And being the vanilla fiend that I am, I also added vanilla bean to the frosting too. Enjoy!

The cupcake deck


I’ve chosen which cupcakes I want to make for the baby shower from The Cupcake Deck. This is a super-cute little assortment of cupcake recipes on individual cards kept together in a dinky wee box. I just love this!

From left to right, I’m making ‘Kid Simple’ cupcakes (vanilla flavoured, with my addition of a little lemon rind for a nice lemony scent), ‘Hummingbird’ cupcakes, and ‘Chocolate Fudge’ cupcakes.

What do you like best?

Best way to display a whole lot of cupcakes?

I bought this tower yesterday, as I thought it was a pretty nifty way to display all the cupcakes I’m going to bake tomorrow. Though the one in the picture is pink, I bought a cream one… at first I was plumping for pink (I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a ‘pink’ kind of girl) but I figured cream was more versatile in the long run: it will match more colours of cupcake, right?

Let them eat cupcakes

Attending baby shower on Saturday and will be making a ‘cupcake tower’ to take along for the Mum To Be. Bought aforementioned ‘tower’ today, so now comes the FUN part… making the cupcakes! Have decided to make three kinds: super-chocolate, hummingbird, and what I call ‘plain’ (guess you could describe it as vanilla).

But the topping – that’s the important bit. So… HAS to be super-chocolate ganache for the chocolate ones, and by super-chocolate I mean at least 70% cocoa solids. None of that namby-pamby milk chocolate for me! Then cream cheese frosting (with a hint of lemon) for the hummingbird cakes, considering they are similar to a carrot cake in style, and carrot cake and cream cheese frosting are a match made in cake heaven! And the vanilla? Yet to be decided – but whatever it is will be coloured in all manner of fairy pastel tints. SO pretty – sigh…