Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

Last October (in 2013) I decided to make my own homemade vanilla extract.  I had been researching it for months and I really wanted to make it for myself and as gifts for Christmas for the ladies in my life.

Homemade Vanilla One of my homemade bottles… on Instagram!

It turned out to be a wonderful thing to do – it ultimately saves me lots of money on vanilla, it was a perfect homemade gift, and the flavor is amazing!   I know a few of you asked me about posting the recipe and maybe, just maybe I’ll eventually get around to that but for now, I want to talk about the vanilla beans.

You see it was all fine and good… except months later, as I start to empty the first of the bottles, I find myself staring at these “used” vanilla beans.

Since they were not cheap and I hated to just toss them out, I started searching  for ways to use them and discovered that I could cut those babies open and scrape out the “good stuff” inside.

Vanilla Bean Paste

Apparently, it’s what they use to make to make vanilla bean paste and other deliciousness…. hello beautiful!   Unfortunately, I’m not creative enough to come up with a good way to photograph the vanilla seeds that I scraped out of the bean, so that’ll just have to do!

You can mix it into *anything* that you want vanilla flavored (ice cream, frosting, whipped cream, cookie batter, etc.) or mix it into sugar and let it sit for a couple of weeks to make vanilla sugar or well… the sky is the limit!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Cupcake

My first use of that vanilla bean goodness … this vanilla bean buttercream frosting.   It’s not a far stretch from my regular vanilla buttercream (I used the same proportions of butter, shortening and sugar), but you can definitely taste that his frosting is more potently vanilla!

Plus it has the added bonus of those tiny black flecks that just make the frosting look so much  more interesting… don’t you think?   Admittedly not everyone will see it that way… my kids thought I used a dirty frosting bag… buhahahahaha!

Click to see Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Back to seriousness… if you don’t have real vanilla beans, I highly recommend this Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste.  I’ve used it in the past and it is also amazing and would be perfect in this frosting!!

What do you think?   Have you made vanilla bean frosting before?  If not – will you be trying it soon?  I sure hope so!!  Here’s the printable recipe: 

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening**
  • 2 vanilla beans (seeded) OR 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsp. heavy cream (or milk if you don't have cream)

Instructions

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, vanilla bean paste (or the scrapings from 2 beans), and the vanilla extract with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides as necessary. Unless you use a SideSwipe paddle like I do... then no scraping is needed ;) Either way, continue mixing until it's smooth.

Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until it's all incorporated and moist. The mixture will be stiff.

When all the sugar is mixed in, you can begin to add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is good for you!

I like the frosting to be stiff enough to pipe, but not so stiff that it makes my hand hurt! I know that's an incredibly scientific texture, right?

Add more milk and/or vanilla bean paste until it's perfect for you!!

**Before you ask... YES, you can use all butter and skip the shortening, but it will not hold up as well in heat (I live in Mississippi ya'll) or pipe as beautifully because it will be a softer frosting. It will also have a slightly different taste and texture.

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One Bowl Chocolate Cake (from scratch)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting and Ganache

Okay, it’s no secret that I don’t bake from scratch with the majority of my cake decorating ventures, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to bake from scratch or that I can’t bake from scratch.

I’ve been accused of that by the way – not really being a baker at all because I use cake mixes.  Um, those have to be baked too people.  Just sayin’.

But seriously, I just do what works for me and most often in my cake decorating business, that means doctored up cake mixes.  I’m happy and my clientss are happy, so I’m not sure why others have such a beef with it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Brownies and Ganache

Anyway, that aside, my best friend Kathy recommended this One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe to me way back in 2011 (I know because I still have the email) and it’s been my most favorite from-scratch chocolate cake recipe ever since.

It’s so super moist and delicious!  And easy… you literally only mess up one bowl for the entire recipe.  Better yet, it’s never failed me a single time!!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Just last week Kathy and I were talking about how there are certain from-scratch recipes that work perfectly one time and totally flop the next and there’s never any way to know when you’ll have a success or failure.  This cake is not like that.  It has always worked for me!

I’ve made it as a sheet cake, round cakes and cupcakes and it’s always perfection!  For this particular cake pictured, I double the recipe, used some for cupcakes and then baked three 8″ round cakes to stack up and layer!  Normally it’ll only be enough batter for two 8″ or 9″ round pans, or one 9″x13″ sheet cake.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting and Ganache

My favorite way to eat this cake is just to top it off with poured ganache and call it a day because it’s simply delicious and perfect that way.  But the day I made this cake for these pics, I chose to make some more Brownie Batter Frosting to put on top of it.

And then I added some cubed up brownies (leftover brownie mix from the frosting put to good use).  And then… then I put on the ganache.  It was all that and more!

As I was writing this, I found one more picture of this cake covered with ganache then fresh whipped cream. I snapped this picture when there were only a couple of slices left.  But I clearly remember that day… this cake is just mouth-watering, lick the cake plate good.

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Fresh Whipped Cream

Okay, that’s enough blabbing.  Here’s the recipe!  Make it soon!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake from AllRecipes.com.  UPDATE:  Several of you pointed out that this is the original Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake.  I guess I’ve never read the side of a Hershey’s Cocoa box before because I’d honestly never heard of this before. 

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (from scratch)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (from scratch)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare two 8" or 9" round pans (or I've also used a 9"x13" sheet cake pan). You can either grease and flour the pans, use non-stick cooking spray, or use homemade cake pan release.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed, then stir in the boiling water.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then flip them out on a wire rack and let completely cool before frosting.

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Chocolate Fudge Turtle Brownie Cake with Pecans & Caramel

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Caramel & Nuts

  Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Heath Toffee Chips, Ganache and Hershey Kisses Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Heath Bar Toffee Chips,  Hershey Kisses & Ganache

Heath Bar Layer Cake

Heath Bar Layer Cake

Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake with Oreo Cream Buttercream and Ganache Logo

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Chips, Oreo Cream Filling and Ganache

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Brownie Batter Frosting

Chocolate Brownie Batter Frosting

I’ve only made this Brownie Batter Frosting a couple of times because honestly – it’s dangerous.  Very, very dangerous.

Usually when I bake brownies, I eat at least as much brownie batter as I eat actual brownies.  My friend Terry asked once why I even bother baking once I mix it up and I have to agree with her sentiment… the batter is just so.much.better.  So Terry… this is for you.

And if you’re like her (and me), you’re probably going to love this too!   It has the rich flavor of brownies, except it’s frosting.

Brownie Frosting

Hear me say this – if you love brownies, you need to try it!   You can pipe it onto a cupcake or slather it on a cake or eat it right off the spoon…  but without the guilt of eating raw batter.    I thought taking a picture of it with a spoon might convince you to try it that way… don’t you wanna just have a bite?

Not that I ever feel guilty for eating raw batter… I mean really – I’ve been doing it for probably all 38 years of my life without ever getting sick so that particular worry has never occurred to me.   But I know some people fret about such things.  God bless ‘em.

Anyway, one day I was making brownies and I wondered if there was a way to get that unique brownie flavor into frosting.    I decided to just start mixing and see what I could come up with and that’s when this Brownie Batter Frosting happened.

Brownies with Frosting

And since I was already baking brownies that day, I decided to pipe some frosting onto those too and oh yeah… it worked.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting and Chocolate Sauce

I also made a One Bowl Chocolate Cake later and covered it with Brownie Batter Frosting and ganache and oh.my.goodness was it delicious!!

What do you think?  Do you have any questions?  Leave me a comment and I’ll help out if I can!  Also, if you’re obsessed with chocolate like I am, scroll past the recipe and check out my other chocolate-and-brownie-loaded recipes!!

Brownie Batter Frosting

Brownie Batter Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brownie mix, dry (from the box)
  • 2 squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate, melted (assuming squares are 1 oz. each)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (more if needed for desired consistency)
  • 2 Tbsp. hot water, more if needed

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Pour in the melted chocolate squares and mix thoroughly then add the dry brownie mix, salt, and vanilla and beat again. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. It will be thick! Add the hot water (one tablespoon at a time) until the desired consistency is achieved.

Taste it to be sure you like it - you may want to add more cocoa powder or brownie mix or vanilla or salt... I like to tinker with recipe amounts until I get them just perfect for me!

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Chocolate Fudge Turtle Brownie Cake with Pecans & Caramel

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Caramel & Nuts

  Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Heath Toffee Chips, Ganache and Hershey Kisses Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Heath Bar Toffee Chips,  Hershey Kisses & Ganache

Heath Bar Layer Cake

Heath Bar Layer Cake

Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake with Oreo Cream Buttercream and Ganache Logo

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Chips, Oreo Cream Filling and Ganache

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