The cake portion of these cupcakes is soft and sweet and made beautiful by pretty little flecks of vanilla bean. A matching vanilla bean frosting tops each cupcake and adds an extra kick of sugary sweetness and buttery richness. And living up to their name, these cupcakes are thoroughly drenched in vanilla. Seriously, they contain two and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract and the insides of two whole vanilla beans. All this vanilla lends the cupcakes a wonderfully strong vanilla aroma that is absolutely delightful.
This recipe is adapted from the double vanilla cupcake recipe over at Simply Recipes:
Very Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 c whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 c + 2 tbsp (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c butter (room temperature)
1 c sugar
2 egg whites
1 recipe vanilla bean buttercream frosting
1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Place the milk into a small sauce pan. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrap out the seeds. Place both the vanilla seeds and the vanilla pod into the milk. Gently heat the milk over low heat until it just barely starts to simmer. Be careful not to scale the milk. Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to steep and cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. Remove the vanilla pods from the cooled milk. Place the milk into a small bowl and add to it the sour cream and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is well combined. Set aside.
5. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until it is well combined. Add the egg whites one at a time, beating well between each addition. In three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating well between each addition. (i.e. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat well, add 1/3 of the milk mixture, beat well, etc.)
6. Divide the finished batter evenly among the 12 cups of a well greased muffin pan. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 2 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!