Vanilla Cupcakes and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

 Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting...oh my word these little babies are sent straight from heaven.  The smell alone will make you happy.  I made these for my friend's aforementioned shower but I shall make them again.  This recipe will make 24 regular sized cupcakes or about 48 small ones...kinda hard to count because I had to keep "sampling the goods" and I lost track.  

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whick together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This may take 3 to 5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.  If the batter begins to look a bit curdled, that's alright.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the vanilla milk mixture in three batches starting and ending with the flour.  When the batter is almost combined, stop the mixer and finish mixing the batter with a spatula, making sure that any flour bits at the bottom of the bowl are well incorporated.

Divide into the lined cupcake pan and bake for 25 min (12 min if making small cupcakes) or until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely before frosting.

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbs milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Ovaltine

Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt.  Butter mixture will be very thick.  Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar.  Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract.  As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting.  Beat until smooth.  In a 1-cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cram and Ovaltine.  Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you've reached your desired consistency.  you may not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream.  Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.  The Ovaltine makes this frosting a step above all the others!




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