When most people think of decadent desserts, they think chocolate. But what about those loved one who prefer the other classic flavor, vanilla? There should be options for them, too, and that’s why we’re pointing the spotlight on vanilla sweet treats today. The flavor derived from orchids of the genus vanilla performs well in all confections it stars in, whether we’re talking cakes, cookies, brownies, or puddings, and it is extremely versatile, with The Huffington Post calling it “one of those powerful ingredients we use all the time.”
So let’s take a break from chocolate and concentrate on vanilla instead. Here are seven recipes where the vanilla flavor especially shines.
1. Very Vanilla Cupcakes
First up we have the very vanilla cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction. This cupcake recipe is a classic that never gets old. The cake layer is infused with vanilla and almond extract, while the rich frosting has a healthy dose of vanilla flavor as well. The white chocolate in the frosting melds perfectly with the rich sweetness of vanilla, and the cool combo will have your taste buds so entertained that they won’t even miss the others chocolates in this decadent and fun food formula.
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup yogurt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 ounces white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to mix. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter on high until melted. Add sugar, and whisk to incorporate, then add yogurt, milk, vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk together. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until only a few lumps remain, being careful not to overmix.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites until until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Fold into cupcake batter, then divid batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely.
Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch the mixer to low speed slowly add confectioners’ sugar until combined. Quickly stir the cooled white chocolate. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix once more until well combined.
Frost cupcakes and serve.