Vanilla Bean Buttercream

The best ever vanilla bean buttercream. Super creamy, fluffy and amazing swirled high on your favourite chocolate or vanilla cupcake! 

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Want to learn how to make the fluffiest, most perfect vanilla bean buttercream? If so, you’re at the right place!

I finally have a new bake to share with you. I haven’t been baking much lately so ease myself back in gently I decided to put a spin on these vanilla cupcakes, a recipe that I can always count on to work. The cupcakes are named “perfect” for a reason and that recipe is a must try for baking beginners because it’s straightforward and doesn’t require any out of ordinary ingredients.

This buttercream is one of first recipes I created for the blog way back when I first started it. I’d always loved making buttercream but I could never seem to get it super creamy and fluffy. Over the years (I’m only 20 but I make myself sound really old!) through experimenting, I’ve perfected an easy and simple vanilla buttercream that’s fail-proof and will work well every time you make it.

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Good old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes are definitely a favourite cupcake flavour of mine. I don’t think you can really go wrong with the classics. This beautiful buttercream suits all kinds of cupcakes, my favourite way is to top vanilla cupcakes with the buttercream but it would also be well suited swirled onto a fudgy chocolate cupcake if you fancy doing that.

As I mentioned, for this buttercream I used my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe as a base. I took the opportunity to do some retesting and update the original recipe ever so slightly. The only changes I made was this time I used margarine in place of butter because I find it gives a more even rise and I also used cake flour instead of regular self-raising flour. Another step I did was I reduced the oven temperature slightly so the cupcakes would rise more evenly and not dome.

Baking is a real science and those adjustments made a definite improvement!

To make my buttercream a touch extra special and treated myself to some vanilla pods. I love adding Madagascan vanilla pods in all kinds of desserts, whether that’s homemade ice cream, cakes/cupcakes, cookies and of course, buttercream and frosting. I particularly love adding it to batches of buttercream because it adds a gorgeous natural vanilla flavour and also I think the flecks of vanilla beans look really beautiful.

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I could easily devour this buttercream before decorating the cupcakes – it’s really difficult for someone like me with a massive sweet tooth to resist! 😉 The finished cupcakes taste exactly like something from a high-end bakery, give them a try and you’ll see!

Ingredients:

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened – leave it out overnight and allow to soften at room temperature

300g (3 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Seeds scraped from 1 large vanilla pod

2 tablespoons double cream or milk, add extra if needed

1 x batch Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Method:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment beat the softened butter for 2 minutes until creamy and pale in colour.
  2. Add the icing/confectioners’ sugar along with the vanilla extract and the scraped vanilla beans. Combine on a low speed and then turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue to beat for 5-7 minutes until fluffy and a light colour. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything gets incorporated evenly.
  3. Finally, add the cream or milk and continue to mix for another minute until it’s combined fully. Use the buttercream to decorate a layer cake or frost 12 standard sized cupcakes.

Recipe Notes:

  • To scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, simply take a sharp kitchen knife and slice the vanilla bean directly down the middle and pull apart to open. Using the back of the knife, carefully scrape the seeds from the pod. I find this detailed post helpful. 🙂
  • Adjust the consistency of the buttercream with a couple of tablespoons of double/heavy cream or milk. I recommend picking cream over milk as the buttercream will have a more airy and creamier texture.
  • Recipe above yields enough buttercream to decorate 12 standard sized cupcakes or a small two-layer cake such as a Victoria sandwich. Depending on how much buttercream you use to decorate, you could possibly decorate a few more than 12 cupcakes.
  • If you can’t find vanilla pods where you live or they are too expensive for your budget, you can substitute the vanilla pod for an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract in this recipe.
  • If buttercream is too sweet for your liking try adding a pinch of salt or substituting the unsalted butter for salted.

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Enjoy!

jess

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Moist vanilla cupcakes topped with fluffy and creamy strawberry buttercream frosting.

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Happy Friday! I’m back with yet another fantastic cupcake recipe ready to celebrate the weekend!

I shared my recipe for Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes last Friday and they went down a storm with you. It’s no secret that I’m pretty much obsessed with cupcakes. I have so much fun swirling the cupcakes with homemade frosting. Since perfecting a very simple, but pretty delicious vanilla buttercream I’ve been completely hooked on creating different frosting flavours.

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My vanilla cupcake recipe is both easy to make and tastes divine. You can top the cupcakes with any of your favourite frostings! The fluffy vanilla cupcakes suit decadent chocolate frosting, caramel frosting and now this gorgeous and fruity strawberry buttercream frosting.

This strawberry buttercream is just as easy as my vanilla buttercream is to make, but the only additional ingredient is freeze dried strawberries. I was browsing at my local bakeware shop and spotted a pot of freeze dried strawberries and thought it would be great idea to sprinkle into some vanilla frosting for a delicious strawberry hit!

Fresh fruit is great to use in some frosting recipes, but strawberries are quite watery in baked goods and would make a runny frosting, impossible to pipe – trust me, I’ve lost count of all the frosting fails I’ve had! So instead of wasting ingredients and time, I gave this method of a go and it worked amazingly, producing the BEST strawberry buttercream! I’ll let you be the judge of that, but the taste testers LOVED these! 😉

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The cupcakes not only look amazing, but they taste even better! The flavour of this strawberry buttercream reminds me a strawberry ice cream/gelato – it’s really good! It’s extremely light and with beautiful fresh flavour. The strawberry frosting really compliments the buttery sponge cake but it would also work well piped on these chocolate fudge cupcakes too!

Decorate in any way you like, they look perfect as they are but by any means add some sprinkles or top with fresh strawberries like I did!

(Makes 12 Cupcakes)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes –

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar or superfine sugar

3 large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g (1 and 1/4 cup) self-raising flour, sifted – be careful not to overmeasure – you can sub with 150g plain flour + 2 tsp baking powder

2-3 tbsp water or milk

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting –

150g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

300g (3 cups) icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

16g (1 cup) freeze dried strawberry pieces

1-3 tablespoons double cream (heavy cream) or milk – cream will give a creamier textured buttercream

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan / 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas Mark 6. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.

2. To make the cupcakes: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light in colour and very fluffy – this will take 5 minutes. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through creaming and using a spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3. Add eggs, one by one and mix to combine. Now fold in the flour – mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Now add the milk or water to loosen the mixture slightly. Do not over mix.

4. Take an ice cream scoop and evenly distribute the cupcake batter between the cupcake liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out completely clean of any uncooked batter. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then when cool enough to touch remove from the tin and transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

5. To make the strawberry frosting & decorate: Cream the butter on a medium speed for a minute to soften. Add half the icing sugar and mix until it’s fully combined. Now stop the mixer and add the remaining icing sugar along with the vanilla and the freeze dried strawberries (16g / 1 cup) and beat on medium speed for 5-7 minutes until pale in colour and fluffy. Stop the mixer halfway through and scrape down the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Finally, add the cream or milk and mix for another minute until fluffy. Once the buttercream is mixed, fit a disposable piping bag with your favourite nozzle and fill the bag with the frosting.

Pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake, then finish with sprinkles or fresh strawberries. Store the iced cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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Enjoy!

jess

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