vanilla & tonka bean birthday cupcakes

birthday cupcakes! not for me, silly… for a friend. i actually wanted to bring 30 bought cupcakes to the party – but (and i’m saying this in a neutral way… ahem) the shop only sold 15 at a time. 15 tiny cupcakes! what can i do with five-bloody-teen cupcakes, eh? so i told them to stuff it, bought philadelphia, sugar, and vanilla and made my own. there, take that, cupcakes shop!

vanilla & tonka bean birthday cupcakes
adapted from martha stewart’s magnolia bakery recipe – makes about 30 small cupcakes

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 pack (2 tbsp) vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon tonka bean, grated

for the frosting:
2 packs (500 g) cream cheese / philadelphia (use the full fat one, is what i tell you)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 pack vanilla sugar 
optional: 3 tbsp. full fat milk
decoration; i.e. candied lavender, candied rose leaves, ladybugs, etc.
preheat oven to 180 degrees c / 350 f. line a muffin tray (mine has 12 molds, so i had to bake in two rounds) with paper cups; set aside. in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment – or with a handmixer – cream butter until smooth and creamy. gradually add sugars, beating until fluffy and white, for about 3 minutes. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla / tonka bean, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. divide batter evenly among liners (i use an ice cream spoon), filling about three-quarters full. bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
transfer to a wire rack to cool in tins for 15 minutes. remove cupcakes from tins, and cool completely on rack. once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. serve at room temperature.
for the frosting:
put the philadelphia in a bowl, gradually combine with the sugar. beat with the electric mixer. add the vanilla sugar. if the consistency is too thick, add some milk. 
pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate with whatever your heart desires; i used candied lavender, candied rose leaves and ladybugs. 
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