June 07, 2014

grain-free vanilla bean cupcakes with buttercream frosting


Let me beginning by addressing the elephant in the room:  I haven't blogged in ages.  I wasn't away (well, not the whole time anyway), I wasn't under any duress, and I wasn't stuck under a piece of furniture.  So I don't have any excuse except that I was just plain old lazy.  I'm very embarrassed by this, but I'm trying not to dwell on it too much and just get my butt back in gear.

Ok, so let's do this.  Remember the grain-free vanilla bean cake I made a month or so ago?  Well, I decided to try my hand at making them into cupcakes, and wouldn't you know, they worked out!  The only change was that the cooking time was cut in half - 20 minutes was enough to cook the cupcakes through.

You can check out the full recipe for the cake portion here.  Then, when you're ready to frost them, you have your pick of the vanilla or the chocolate buttercream frosting recipes below.

Warning: these are very good, and you'll likely forget that they don't contain wheat or grains of any sort. ;)

bean cupcakes, all baked up and cooling down on the wire rack

close up!



all iced up and ready to be transported to a friends' house :)

and now for the chocolate icing...
this is how the magic happens


yum!

Here's the recipe!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grapefruit or orange zest

Directions:
Cream the butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment for a few minutes on medium speed.  Turn off the mixer then add powdered sugar and beat the mixture on low.  Once the powdered sugar is mixed in with the butter, turn the mixer to medium speed.  Add milk and vanilla and beat another 3 minutes.  Add grapefruit zest and beat for another 10 seconds.  Once your cupcakes are at room temp,  you can spread or pipe the buttercream frosting on top, and enjoy. :)


But what if you're in the mood for chocolate buttercream frosting?  Well, here's the recipe for that too:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients:
1 cup butter at room temp (1 stick)
2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp almond extract (a substitute is vanilla extract)
4 tbsp milk or heavy cream

Directions:
Cream the butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment for a few minutes on medium speed.   A great tip I learned from Savory Sweet Life was to not be tempted to microwave the butter, but rather take the butter out of the fridge and really let it come to room temp on its own.  It makes a huge difference.  This will ensure that your icing comes out with the right texture and smoothness.

Turn off the mixer then add powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and beat the mixture on low.  Once the powdered sugar/cocoa is mixed in with the butter, turn the mixer to medium speed.  Add milk and almond extract and beat another 3 minutes.

The almond extract was a really neat twist to regular vanilla.  It added a little flair, a little hint of complexity, to the chocolate icing which was really special.  I highly recommend.

Once your cupcakes are at room temp,  you can spread or pipe the buttercream frosting on top, and enjoy. :)