vanilla bean cupcakes with berry frosting

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This Saturday I'll be teaching a cookie decorating workshop in Boulder and my whole life has been sugar cookies lately.  I needed a break from freakin cookies for just. one. second.  I didn't have time to frost an entire cake because, after all, I had to get to work on my class, so I made cupcakes.

To me, baking with vanilla bean is crazy fancy and it makes me feel cool.  It tastes good too, but it's mostly for the fancy feeling.  Using preserves that have been sitting in my fridge for 8 months, well that just makes me feel smart!  I bet you have a partially used jar of jam in your fridge right now.  I don't even have to look.

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for the cupcakes
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean - I used two and it made it even better! But it's not necessary
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted buter, room temperature
1/4-1/2 cup preserves of your choice - I used raspberry because it's what I had
4-5 cups of confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk to consistency
Handful of berries of your choice


for the cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 350 and put liners of your choice into your cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and egg whites.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed until the butter and sugar are very light - this should take at least 2 minutes. Add one third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until it's just incorporated. Beat in half of the milk, vanilla, egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter fully incorporated and smooth, then add the last of the dry ingredients and mix on medium for one minute.

You can use a spoon to put the batter into the cupcake liners, or you can do what I do and use a cookie scoop.

Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool them completely before frosting!

for the frosting
Beat your butter until it is smooth and soft. Add your vanilla and preserves and beat until very well mixed. Add your confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl thoroughly between each addition. Add milk if if it gets too stiff. You want the frosting to hold it's shape but easily make it's way through your frosting tip.  When your frosting is the right consistency, add your berries and beat them in for about 30 seconds.  You'll end up with little bits of them in your frosting and it'll make it look really natural and delicious!

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I hope you make these and bask in the fancy vanilla beany feeling.  And I hope you have a fabulous Monday night.

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