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Desserts

Black and White (and Orange) Cupcakes:
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Spiced Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Sometimes I am just in a cupcake kind of mood. It was a spur of the moment thing that I decided to make these — I realized that a friend has a birthday tomorrow (on Halloween) so it was an impromptu thing. I didn’t have much in the house, but I did jazz up the flavors in these otherwise rather “black and white” cupcakes: vanilla bean paste in the cupcakes themselves and both cinnamon and chili powder in the chocolate frosting.

Ingredients
for the Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but slightly cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and paste removed or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

for the buttercream frosting
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), Softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper baking cups and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low speed. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, 1 at time, and mix until fully combined.

Add the milk and vanilla, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the batter is light, fluffy and free of lumps.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar, spices and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired. I got these cute little sugar flower decorations from SweetSarahsBoutique on Etsy.

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