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Friday, April 23, 2010

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

Week 3: Making Things Taste Good

Since I have gotten so many custom cupcake orders in the last month, I ma now on a quest to make the best vanilla cupcake ever. Here I go again with wanting my cupcakes to taste just as good, if not better, than they look.

I think I found the perfect cupcake. This week I made a Vanilla Sour Cream Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream. The cake part was the perfect consistency, not too light and fluffy, and not too dense. Just the perfect in between, light enough to be super delicious and dense enough to hold up all the frosting and decorations I may need to add to it. The taste of the cake was wonderful as well. It almost tasted like a snickerdoodle cookie. Fabulous!

The best part of the cupcake though was the Buttercream frosting. I really think that I good buttercream can make the difference between just a cupcake and something that is truly distinct and special. The buttercream I made for this cake was not just a Vanilla Buttercream, but a Vanilla Bean Buttercream. One of my Tuesday Night Testers took one bite and proclaimed, "It tastes just like Dreyer's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. I know I shouldn't, but I might have to have another." Success. The difference between the regular buttercream and the Vanilla Bean flavor was the use of Vanilla Bean Paste in the buttercream instead of using regular vanilla extract. I had never used nor ever heard of this ingredient before this week and it has left me needing to find where I can buy a bigger bottle of it.

Vanilla Bean Paste comes in a jar, just like Vanilla Extract, but has the consistency of molasses. You can also see the wonderful little flecks of bean in the paste. This paste seemed to give the same taste and visual effect as if I had used actual vanilla beans, but was less expensive and easier to use. You can find this item at William-Sonoma, Sur la Table, or your local cake making supply store. A 4oz bottle coats about $10.00 and is definitely worth every penny.

Overall Decision: 9 out of 10

I give it this rating only because I over cooked the cupcakes a little and over filled the cupcake liners, so the cupcakes came out kind of mushroom shaped. Also, I haven't decided if the natural vanilla bean color to the buttercream takes away from the aesthetics of a cupcake once it has a topper. I might kind of wish it was a bright white color (but really only for pictures).


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