Saturday, May 24, 2008
Week 19: Vanilla Cupcakes topped with a Vanilla Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting a slow Caramel Drizzle and Macadamia Nuts
Hi friends! This recipe is mouthwatering for many reasons you know I will share! It is a vanilla cupcake with a vanilla coffee cream cheese frosting a slow caramel drizzle and then sprinkled with macadamia nuts! Not only does this little beauty look divine, but also the flavor is bursting from the cupcake liner!
I am so proud of how sweet and pretty these cupcakes turned out because I baked them in the loveliest baking cups from Fancy Flours called Muffincino. The cups are sturdy and firm Panettone paper, brown colored with gold print. They looked so, so cute! I made a "test batch" of these cuppies earlier in the week and took them to work to see what kind of response I would get. It was overwhelmingly positive! The savory combination of vanilla coffee cream cheese frosting, caramel and macadamia nuts on a light vanilla cupcake was taste bud ecstasy! (Wow, that sounds dramatic!) Trust me though; it was a definite eye rolling experience!
When I was living in the Middle East, one of my favorite things to do was to venture into the spice souqs and learn about all the different varieties of spices available! I can remember walking through the alley and walkways heavy with incense and seeing mounds of overflowing, colored herbs and spices in jute and burlap sacks. There were all sorts of exotic spices and everyday spices, but I always found something delicious to bring home and experiment with. I really miss that!
With this cupcake recipe I wanted to have a richer and cleaner flavor with the vanilla. I have used vanilla bean pods and different kinds of vanilla extracts. This time I went to one of my favorite stores and found Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder. Grinding whole dried vanilla beans until powdery produces vanilla powder. The advantage to vanilla powder is it can be added to warm liquids and the vanilla flavor will not evaporate as it does with extracts. It is absolutely delicious! The enhanced vanilla flavor which came through in the cupcakes was very rich and the uber decadent frosting could not have been better!
The slow caramel drizzle and macadamia sprinkling as the final accoutrement was really exceptional! I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I did! Let me know your thoughts!
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
3 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder
1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake papers and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth and add the sugar gradually. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
5. Spoon the batter with a small ice cream scooper into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Cool the cupcakes for 15 minutes. Remove from the muffin pan and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Vanilla Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting
1 brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 Confectioner's Sugar
2 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder
3-4 Tbsp. fresh brewed coffee, room temperature
1. Combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, mix ingredients until smooth.
2. Slowly add confectioner's sugar, vanilla powder and alternate coffee until mixture becomes thick and fluffy.
3. Beat frosting for approximately 5 minutes.
4. Very important to frost cupcakes once they are completely cooled!
5. Once cupcakes are frosted, drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. I made a "W" up and down, and then another "W" from left to right.
6. Sprinkle lightly with chopped macadamia nits.