I honestly think that box cake mixes are just as fantastic as homemade ones, but so much simpler! On the other hand, I really don't like to use canned frosting. Homemade frosting does take a little extra effort, but once you make this buttercream with real vanilla beans, you will never go back!
I have never been able to find vanilla beans in the grocery store...I originally purchased mine on Amazon from a private seller, and the beans were excellent! I sadly couldn't find that seller the next time I went to reorder the beans, but I found this great website that specializes in vanilla beans. I prefer to use the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, and the ratings tell all! Check out Beanilla.com to order!
As an extra little secret, I store my vanilla beans in the original packaging, inside an air-tight container with my powdered sugar. This actually gives the powdered sugar an amazing vanilla scent!
Prep Time: 30 minutes + cooling time
Cook Time: about 25 minutes (2 trays at a time)
Yield: approximately 6 dozen mini cupcakes
- 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla cake mix
- 3 eggs
- Vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 mini cupcake trays with paper liners.
- Prepare cupcakes as directed on box. Fill liners with batter, 2/3 full. Bake 8-9 minutes or until lightly golden brown at the edges. Allow the cakes to cool completely before adding frosting.
- For the frosting: Beat butter on medium-high speed with an electric hand mixer until smooth, about 20 seconds.
- Using a paring knife, slice down the middle of the vanilla bean, the whole way from one end to the other. Scrape out the "caviar" from the inside and add to the butter. Beat at medium-high for 15 seconds to combine.
- Add powdered sugar and salt; beat on medium-low until sugar is fully moistened, about 1 minute.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat at medium for another 30 seconds.
- Add vanilla and heavy cream; beat on medium, 20 seconds.
- Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Decorate your cupcakes! (I like to use a medium to small star tip for a nice, textured frosting decoration.) Add colorful sugar crystals to match any occasion!