Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vanilla Filling Goodness

When I get the creative bug, it expresses itself in a variety of ways.  Sometimes I redecorate, "nesting" as my mom calls it, or I sculpt some new clay figurines or tackle designing new jewelry.

Many days, I end up in the kitchen attempting a new recipe or just making a classic.  I love to cook and I especially love to cook for others.  If we are entertaining guests, you can bet that there will be a plentiful spread of food!

Remember those good ol' days of childhood when you would bite into a prepackaged cupcake (golden or chocolate) and be rewarded with the yummy creamy filling inside?  Well, at Baking Bites, Nicole Weston has replicated the recipe so you can make your own delicious cupcakes at home! After seeing this several weeks ago, I decided to tackle the Vanilla Filling recipe yesterday.

First, my boyfriend is one of ~those~ people...the cake and the icing have to be different.  You know, golden cake, chocolate icing, chocolate cake, vanilla, I prefer my chocolate with chocolate and topped guessed it!  More chocolate.

So, I admit, I did cheat.  I did not tackle the cake or frosting recipe that was listed on Baking Bites website.  Instead, I pulled out a box of golden cake mix and a container of milk chocolate frosting that I already had in the pantry.  This saved on the cost of having to purchase new ingredients for the recipe, as well as avoid the grocery store on a Saturday!

After I baked the cupcakes, I started in on the filling recipe:

Vanilla Cream Filling
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup butter (or trans fat-free shortening)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

I used just plain vanilla extract, 2% milk and I did use real butter.  The first step involves putting the flour and milk into a sauce pot.  Using a whisk, you will need to stir the milk and flour continuously over medium heat.  Just as you start to think your arm is going to fall off, the sauce will thicken up suddenly.  You want it to reach a nice pudding thickness.  This will become very obvious as you stir and it starts to scrape off the bottom of the pan and clump.  

As soon as it has thickened, pour the mixture onto a wire mesh over a bowl and cover with cling wrap.  Let cool to room temperature.

Now, I let mine cool for probably 45 minutes.  Not much liquid drained out of the thick mixture...only a few drops.

Once the milk/flour mixture is cooled, cream together the sugar and butter.  As soon as the mixture is light and fluffy, combine the milk/flour mixture and the vanilla extract.  This is the hard part.  Set a timer for 7 minutes and be ready to stand there if you have a hand mixer.  If you have a stand, then feel free to grab yourself a drink and relax.  With the hand mixer, I kept rotating the bowl a quarter turn as I let it beat the mixture into a beautiful whipped goodness.

Once that is finished, use a paring knife and cut a circle into the top of each cupcake.  Pull the cone out and slice the point off.  (I put the extra bits of cake into a bowl for a yummy snack, rather than toss them out.)

Spoon the vanilla filling into a baggie or pastry bag, whichever you prefer.  I use a zip top baggie and snip the corner off.  I had enough to fill 20 cupcakes. 

Replace the tops of the cupcakes and ice with your frosting.  Again, I use a zip top baggie because I find I can quickly ice cupcakes and make nice swirled designs, rather than using a spreader.
I was amazed at how light and yummy the vanilla filling was inside of the cupcake.  It was very rich in combination with the golden butter cake and chocolate frosting, but a bonus to this, you only need one to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of two!  

This recipe is definitely going to be stored in my book for future use.  As I was finishing the decorations yesterday, I already know the next time I will be making them.  I love Halloween and we traditionally throw a party with refreshments for our friends.  I will be dividing the filling up and adding some red and green food coloring and adding a ghoulish touches to some scary, but yummy, cupcakes.  Check back, because I will definitely post the results here when October rolls around.