Sweet’s Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

It’s no secret that I LOVE Sweet cupcakes and regularly stop by for a cupcake (or five) in the name of “research”.  It’s my life goal to try every flavor.

[Lofty Goals by Melanie, Item #17]

When we were in Paris we went to a magical bakery supply store called G. Detou, where they had floor-to-ceiling walls of chocolate bars, food colorings and flavorings, and SO SUPER CHEAP vanilla beans.

I don’t know how many of you have purchased vanilla beans at the grocery store, but they cost more than liquid gold.  So when I spotted a jar of FIFTY vanilla beans for 20 euros, I said tell me where to sign.

Sooo… now I have 50 48 vanilla beans burning a hole in my cupboards and decided it was high time I made Sweet’s vanilla bean cupcakes!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t rub a vanilla bean on myself as “perfume”.

These cupcakes are perfectly fluffy and vanilla-y, with cute little specks of vanilla bean throughout.  You could make them using just vanilla extract, but then you wouldn’t have the chance to wear vanilla bean perfume, and what fun is that?

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (recipe from The Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes)

yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and add the egg; beat until combined.  Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Scrape the seeds of 1/4 of a vanilla bean; add them to the milk.  Add the milk mixture and flour mixture to the butter mixture alternatively in three steps, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix on medium-low until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners; bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the butter and shortening on high until smooth and creamy.  Scrape the seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean; add the seeds and the confectioners sugar to the butter mixture.  Start the mixer on low until the sugar starts to incorporate, then beat on medium for about 30 seconds.  Add the vanilla extract and beat on high 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.

11 thoughts on “Sweet’s Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

  1. Adrienne

    oooh the place in the book!! love it. glad to hear how awesome it is. after hearing about your trip, now I need to go to Paris…

  2. Emma

    G DETOU is one of the best shop in Paris but next time you’ll go in Paris, be sure to go to MORA, if you had’nt, it’s a street far from GDETOU and also a great shop :).

  3. mumagain

    Can I ask – how do you ice your cupcakes? what tip do you use and can you give me a few pointers on technique? Mine never look good!

    1. The Sweet Life Post author

      Great question! I have a couple of fav tips: for this post, I used a round frosting tip with a 20mm opening that I got in France; my other favorite is Ateco #827, as seen on these cupcakes: https://melssweetlife.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/peanut-butter-oreo-cupcakes/. I liked this tutorial: http://camillestyles.com/2012/how-to-frost-a-cupcake-3-ways/ but mostly it’s just a lot of practice and swirling! Also, one of my best (and least expensive!) investments was a couple reusable frosting bags and frosting tips.

      I read somewhere that a good way to practice is to frost a bunch of cupcakes then wipe the frosting off and stick it back in the frosting bag, and practice again until you like what you see.

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