Monday, January 23, 2012

New Year, New Adventures

This year I've decided that I want to try as many new things as possible. That means going to new places (quite possibly the easiest task on the list), trying new foods (stuff that I'm usually standoffish towards), playing new music, trying out new hobbies,etc. 

Since I love to bake I wanted to challenge myself a bit further to not only bake exclusively from scratch, but to branch out and try recipes that are intimidating and more difficult. To add to that I wanted to include Husband in my most enjoyed hobby, which is extremely new because normally he's not allowed in MY kitchen while I'm baking… it has something to do with my obsessive need for perfection and let me tell you in my mind you CAN crack an egg incorrectly. 

So every month Husband and I will pick a weekend to tackle a new cupcake recipe TOGETHER. To keep us from choosing the same types of cupcakes we've decided to have themes. We've chosen 6 types of cupcakes that we'll do twice throughout the year. Each quarter of the year will focus on different three types, trying not to overlap and hopefully as close to season as possible. This sounds confusing and I can't think of a way to explain it better so I apologize.

Anyway, these are the 6 types: chocolate, vanilla, fruit, filled, spiked and savory.

First up, we've chosen to go with a vanilla cupcake for January. It's fitting since we think of snow and white to symbolize the clean slate of the new year,etc. We've decided to pair the vanilla bean cupcake with a honey buttercream because we have an awesome local honey shop about 15 minutes away and since we usually have a stockpile of her honey in our cabinet we figured why not?!? 

My Sweet Honey Cup (Vanilla bean cupcake with Honey buttercream)
YIELD: 30 cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean (<---New ingredient! I've never baked with a real vanilla bean before!)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with  paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites.
3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed until the butter and sugar are very light, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in another third of the flour mixture 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.
5. Once ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a 1/4 cup measure distribute the batter filling each well 2/3 full. I have a tiny Italian oven so I was only able to bake a dozen cupcakes at a time. Keep that in mind when setting a baking time.
6. Bake for 15-18minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool on wire rack.
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 lb  Confectioner's Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Honey*
  • 4-6 tbsp water, for thinning

Beat butter, shortening and honey together until well incorporated. Add confectioner's sugar and beat on low speed then slowly add in water a tablespoon at a time until you've reached your desired consistency. 

*I know this seems like a lot of honey, and to be honest it is. However, we used a very light honey called Acacia and so the flavor is sweet but not very evident. If you have a darker honey on hand start off using 1/3 cup and taste it before adding more. A darker honey tends to have a richer flavor.

Look at those gorgeous flecks of vanilla bean!


  1. I love your blog! :) You are so talented - I def need to try one of your recipes.

  2. Oh my gosh, YUM! I think I must try this recipe!