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Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with "Ice Cream" Frosting

Posted on Jul 12, 2012



These happy cupcakes are super moist, super easy, and topped with an amazingly creamy old-time frosting that some Southern great grandma must have cooked up.
I say Southern because:  a.  It’s got enough butter and sour cream to make Paula Deen proud  b. They’re the best cooks in the USofA – no offense y’all, but comfort food just doesn’t get better than this (don’t hold it against me – I live in the South so I’m just a little bit biased).


If you look reaalllly close, you can spot the little brown specks in the cupcakes – that would be vanilla beans, so right off the bat you know these are no humdrum treats.  Why even my 20-year-old son gave these a thumbs up, proclaiming the frosting tasted like vanilla ice cream – just the way he likes it.  The secret to that luscious texture?  You cook the frosting.  Unconventional right?   But the results will simply blow you away!


Give these treats a whirl – they’ll put a smile on your face.  And if you don’t happen to inhale them all at once, they’ll stay nice and moist a day or two, thanks to the sour cream.  Enjoy!

“His fingerprints are everywhere. I just slowed down to stop and stare.
Opened my eyes and man I swear, I saw God today.”
   ~ George Strait


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with "Ice Cream" Frosting

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Yield: About 24 standard muffin tin size cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature - ideal texture is like soft ice cream (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup butter, but I prefer all butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup sugar)*
  • Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups + 5 Tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  1. Prepare the frosting first with this recipe, as the cooked mixture needs time to cool. By the time the cupcakes are ready to be frosted, your icing will be ready to go.
  2. Frosting
  3. Whisk together milk, flour, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (about 3 minutes).
  5. Remove pan the from heat, and place a piece of waxed paper directly over the milk mixture to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Sit aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Alternatively, sit the pan in a bowl filled with ice to quick chill.
  7. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip butter until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Add the cooled milk mixture and vanilla, and whip again until light and fluffy - a couple of minutes.
  8. Frost cupcakes immediately, or cover and store the frosting for up to 3 days.
  9. Allow frosting to sit at room temperature about 10 minutes to soften before frosting if refrigerated.
  10. Cupcakes
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. Slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out.
  13. Place the bean, seeds, and whole milk in a small saucepan.
  14. Cook over low heat, just until it starts to simmer (tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan). Remove from the heat and allow to steep and cool.
  15. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together to blend. Set aside.
  16. In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  17. Then add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy - another 3 or 4 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the bowl occasionally.
  18. Add the egg and beat for 30 seconds. Then add one egg white, beat for 30 seconds, and do the same for the remaining egg white.
  19. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk (don't toss it - you can wash the bean, dry it and add it to sugar to make vanilla sugar!).
  20. In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla milk, sour cream and vanilla extract together to blend.
  21. Use a dry-wet-dry method to add the flour and milk mixtures: Add half of the flour mixture to to the mixer bowl.
  22. Use an off-on pulsing motion to incorporate the flour (and prevent it from flying all over your kitchen) and then mix on low speed until it's just about combined.
  23. Scrape down the bowl.
  24. Then add the milk mixture and again use a pulsing motion until mostly incorporated, then mix on low speed until just combined.
  25. Scrape down the bowl, and add the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined - don't over mix as it will result in tough cupcakes!
  26. Use a 2" ice cream scoop with a release to scoop batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners.
  27. Bake about 18-20 minutes - until a tester inserted comes out with some moist crumbs attached. Place pan on a wire baking rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on the baking rack.
  28. Frost when cool


*No need to shell out $6 for a bag of superfine sugar. Simply measure the amount of sugar called for in your recipe, add it to a food processor and whirl until it is very finely ground - not as fine as confectioners' sugar, but much finer than regular granulated sugar. This will take about 1 minute tops.

The frosting adapted from a recipe given to me years ago. I don't know where it originated.

The cupcake recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes

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For Cupcakes:
adapted from Simply Recipes



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