Vanilla

Once upon a time, back in the beginning stages of me realizing my passion for baking, I actually used to make my desserts using store-bought cake mix and frosting.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with store-bought cake mix & frosting… I am a self-proclaimed cake batter addict and store-bought definitely tastes the best. There’s honestly nothing better than funfetti batter.

But after awhile, my baking affinity started growing and I started to branch out and crave more challenging recipes, that called for something other than eggs and vegetable oil to complete. I received a few cupcake books as presents and began  trying out some recipes from them. About 6 months into seriously honing my baking skills, I decided that I hadn’t found a solid vanilla cupcake recipe. So, I set out on the internet to try and find a go-to recipe that would crank out perfect vanilla cupcakes every time.

I must confess- I am a plain Jane. One of my personality traits is that I like things plain: plain cheese pizza, plain pancakes and waffles (no syrup or butter), plain vanilla ice cream, etc. I’m weird, I know, but it’s just what I like. So, naturally, I am a lover of the plain vanilla cupcake probably more than the average bear. In my search for the perfect vanilla cupcake, I landed on the foodnetwork.com recipe for Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake. But I wasn’t that excited about the frosting recipe…. thus began my habit of mixing and matching cake and frosting recipes.

After some more searching, I somehow stumbled across Amy Sedaris’ recipe for vanilla buttercream. I know, I didn’t know she was a baker either, but apparently she has a couple cookbooks out, like this one:

I will now let you in on why I have deemed this recipe the best of the best:
– It uses a lot of heavy whipping cream in the frosting. It makes all the difference.
– I started using real vanilla beans instead of extract… again, makes a huge difference. And plus it just looks super authentic with the specs of vanilla in the frosting.

I’ve made it more than several times and it’s a no-fail combination. It consistently turns out a very moist cake with a fluffy, yet buttery frosting that holds up well to decorating:

 

Aaaaaanndd…. because I love colors, I commonly like to dye frosting when I can… and this little recipe is great for coloring:

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