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The vanilla cupcake recipe of my dreams…and some really good tapas.

August 21, 2009

Many of you (well, anyone who’s read the blog, talked to me in person, or watched my newsfeed on Facebook) know that I have been on the hunt for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. Well. Folks. I FOUND IT!

Double vanilla delicious!

Double vanilla delicious!

I should make a disclaimer here – this is MY perfect recipe. Cupcake preferences are as varied as the day is long (at least…as long as summer days at the north pole…). So if you try this one, and it’s not to your liking, please don’t be upset. 🙂

The Recipe: I won’t rewrite it here, because that would be plagiarizing, but I got it from a guest blogger on Simply Recipes. The recipe incorporates sour cream, which I love, and the use of vanilla beans, of which I have several (thanks to my mystery box from Rob!).

I also used my gel pastes this time around, coloring the batter peach and teal.

Gel Pastes!

Gel Pastes!

The recipe utilizes the paste from the inside of the bean as well as steeping the vanilla bean in milk.

As always, don’t overmix the batter, so you can do fun  things like add gel paste after the fact!

Coloring the batter

Coloring the batter

Batter, resting.

Batter, resting.

I made these for the family I stayed with during my internship, as dessert for a dinner we had this past Sunday. The colors weren’t really related to anything, I just wanted to do something colorful. So, I made them stripey!

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

They baked a bit longer than the recipe said they would, so watch them closely.

Finished cupcakes

Finished cupcakes

The finished result? Delicious! I will say, they were overpowered by the cream cheese frosting, so I wouldn’t recommend using it. I tried another batch with salted caramel buttercream frosting, but the frosting didn’t turn out fabulous so I’ll have to try another one.

Mmmm...

Mmmm...

They sorta look like cinnamon rolls...

They sorta look like cinnamon rolls...

A quick rec here – the recipe mentions this, but I only used half a vanilla bean, steeped the empty pod, and then was done with it. So what do you do with a vanilla bean pod that’s been used? Use it to make vanilla sugar! I took the vanilla bean pod, rinsed it well, patted it dry with a towel then left it to dry overnight in my ceramic sugar holder.

Vanilla bean

Vanilla bean

Next day,  I filled it to the top with sugar, gave it a good shake, and there it’ll sit for a couple of weeks, after which it will be all vanilla sugary! What would you use vanilla sugar for? Any vanilla-flavored dessert product which would benefit from the added deliciousness of the best flavor EVER. 🙂

Now, quickly, I’ll give you a review of Jaleo Tapas Bar, the Pentagon City location. My friend Anna and I went here for dinner on Wednesday, as a last get-together before she left for a fun holiday in Hawaii. We ordered 6 different small plates, including spicy garlic shrimp, beet salad, veal stew, potato-wrapped chorizo, wrinkled baby potatoes, and fried bacon-wrapped dates. Our favorites were definitely the veal stew and spicy garlic shrimp, though the chorizo, potatoes, and dates were delicious as well. Prepare now for the photo montage.

Chorizo and potato

Chorizo and potato

Bacon-wrapped dates

Bacon-wrapped dates

Wrinkled baby potatoes

Wrinkled baby potatoes

Mojo sauce

Mojo sauce

And for dessert? HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TORTE!!! It. Was. PHENOMENAL. I highly recommend it.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Torte

So. I highly recommend Jaleo – it’s a chain, yes, but the quality was really fantastic. Hope you all have a great weekend!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    August 21, 2009 3:56 pm

    Congrats! Now that you’ve reached your goal, what’s next?

    The post brings up an interesting and much debated point about recipes. Courts have held time and time again that a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted and has no legal protection. The descriptive words that go along with a recipe (literary content, such as this post) are subject to copyright and a cookbook can be copyrighted, but a mere recipe cannot. Anyone can post the Nestle Toll House recipe without fear of legal danger.

    The dilemma is merely a moral one. If a recipe says to combine 1/2 c. sugar and 1 c. flour and set aside, you can copy it directly, or change “combine” to “mix,” or go with something completely different, like “add 1/2 c. sugar to 1 c. flour. Stir together and set aside.” All three are the same idea, none will get you in legal trouble.

    And to take it a step further, if you were to increase the sugar to 3/4 c. and increase the flour to 1-1/2 c., is it then “your” recipe? How many ingredients/instructions must change?

    • lisam permalink
      August 21, 2009 5:39 pm

      Such a good point, Rob. I’ve often wondered about it myself. I think in this case, I’ll stick to my own moral compass, which in any case is probably a bit stricter. 🙂

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