Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wedding Cakes & Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

     This is beautiful isn't it?  I was looking at www.bellarosabridal.com, and this picture jumped out at me.  I am busily planning my own wedding, and the cake has been a particularly difficult decision for me.  Wedding cakes are ridiculously expensive, and there are so many different ways to express yourself in a cake.  As someone who cooks and bakes all of the time I want my cake to not only reflect me and taste delicious.

     As I am sure you are all aware cupcakes are huge now, and lots of brides look to have cupcake towers for their special day.  I have made several cupcake "cakes" for people myself, and I have decided that this is something I want for my own wedding reception.  So far my colors are going to be white, light pink, and a taupe color.  I am doing a country vintage theme.  The hardest decision is what flavors of cupcakes I should have.  It is going to be a fall wedding so maybe pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting?  How yummy does that sound?  My goodness!

     Or there are always my famous red velvet cupcakes, or chocolate and vanilla, or marble cake, so many amazing decisions!  I have made towers for lots of events and in many different flavors, but I love this picture I found, I wish I could claim it as my own, but it wasn't my masterpiece.  To me this looks both elegant and bridal, yet whimsical at the same time..  Exactly what I am going for, just a few color changes.  I have made cupcake after cupcake, but without fail the most common wedding cake flavor is the basic vanilla.  This is my basic vanilla bean cupcake recipe, its what I call a foundation recipe, it can stand on its own, or you can also build on it and customize it depending on the season or event.  Give it a try, you will love how moist these cupcakes are!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes


3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. sugar
5 lg. eggs, at room temperature
1¼ c. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter and the vanilla bean paste or scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each a little more than halfway full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 


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