Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Roses

A beloved person in my life is going through a very hard ordeal right now. Sometimes when a person gets bad news about their health, the people close to them feel like nothing they can say or do will help them through.

This person I made these vanilla cupcakes for is a wonderfully funny and caring woman. She's also a huge supporter of my baking, which I've always appreciated. She requested vanilla cupcakes because they're her favorite. When you feel powerless in life, it's always nice to be able to do something that's within your means. I probably feel that way even more because I have deep seated control issues, but that's another story!

To my wonderful co-worker- I love you and look forward to fulfilling more cupcake requests!

For the Vanilla Cupcakes: (makes 20 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick butter, plus 2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup, plus 2 tbsp sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 white
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Seeds from one vanilla bean (you can sub vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard cupcake tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, oil and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add vanilla bean seeds. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg white, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
3 sticks butter, unsalted
1/4 block cream cheese
1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla bean seeds. Add confectioner's sugar and mix on low. Add heavy whipping cream and increase speed to medium.

To decorate:

I piped buttercream onto each cupcake using a french pastry tip. The roses were made by piping onto a pastry nail with swiss meringue buttercream dyed pink. Since swiss meringue buttercream has an egg white and butter base, it's a lot stiffer and easier to decorate with.