Friday, March 13, 2009


When I found out I had won vanilla beans via "Win it Wednesday" on Jerseybites about a month ago I immediately began to plan what we would be making first. It was a dual win for me because the beans came from my friends over at Marx Foods {don't you just love Internet synergy?}
The Beans

We haven't made cupcakes in quite some time, so that was a good start. A few months back Kyle and I developed a deep love for cardamom in sweets with these little orange cardamom cookies we sold over the holiday season at T-Joe's.

If you haven't worked with vanilla beans before, it's truly very easy. You split the bean down the center and use the back of the knife to scrape millions of little tasty spheres that are a flavor powerhouse. After you scrape out this paste stick the bean in your bag of sugar for a nice subtle vanilla flavor in all of your sugar uses. Obviously if this isn't appealing to you, keep two bags of sugar on hand; vanilla for baking, plain for coffee.

Millions of seeds...

We started with Martha's Maple Walnut cupcake recipe {seeing as we only had all purpose flour on hand we didn't use the yellow cake recipe} and replaced the cinnamon with cardamom and used the seeds from one vanilla bean instead of the vanilla extract.
Vanilla paste





Instead of making a standard butter cream recipe we decided to add a little zing and made Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting. The last time we made frosting we had TONS left over, and since we had already used some of our cream cheese for our bagels that morning, we cut the recipe in half. In retrospect, these guys probably would have been a bit cuter with more frosting, but I think they turned out just lovely.


The cardamom was subtle and the frosting had just a tiny hint of the goat cheese. The vanilla flavor was impeccable! Get your own vanilla beans over at for a great price. Sure you have to buy a pound of beans, but what a great wedding favor idea!. Pop a few into a test tube and seal it with a cork.

Vanilla bean Cardamom Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
Makes 2 dozen

2¾ cups (13.75 ounces) unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 vanilla bean
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-up muffin pans with paper liners. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ended with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly among he muffin cups, adding about 1/3 cup to each. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool slightly. Invert the cupcakes onto the rack; then reinvert and let them cool completely, top sides up. Frost tops with Creamy Goat Cheese frosting. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Vanilla bean Cardamom Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

12 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
6 ounces whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Vanilla paste scraped from the interior of 1 vanilla bean

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add sugar and paste from the vanilla bean, and beat until well-combined and fluffy.

1 comment: said...

Hi Kate, So glad you're enjoying your prize. Goat Cheese frosting. Heavenly. I am a goat cheese freak. I will have to try these very soon.