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~ Delightfully Double-Vanilla Sour-Cream Frosting ~

IMG_8009Every great cake or cupcake deserves an equally great frosting.  The two must play off each other so well you can't imagine one without the other.  While vanilla, known for its enchanting scent and exotic taste, is indisputably the number one flavoring added to baked goods, when it comes to using it as the lone flavor enhancer in an otherwise flavorless cake, most published recipes don't add enough of it.  Be it vanilla beans, paste, extract or powder, I typically double the recommended amount and I have never once been disappointed.  There's more:  I'll bet a lot of you do the very same thing.  One teaspoon of vanilla might go a long way to enhance the flavor of a chocolate cake, but, in an all-vanilla cake or vanilla cake frosting, it's just not enough.

IMG_7881A bit about vanilla bean paste and vanilla powder:  Everyone who bakes stores high-quality pure vanilla extract (not imitation flavoring) in their pantry along with a few vanilla bean pods too. They're available everywhere, with extract being more economical than whole pods.  You'll find two other vanilla products in my pantry too: vanilla bean paste & vanilla powder.

Vanilla bean paste is a sweet, syrupy mixture full of vanilla beans that have been scraped out of the pod.  Like vanilla extract, it's full of IMG_7887natural vanilla flavor, plus, it's got all the pretty speckled beans in it too.  I think of it as a convenient cross between the extract and the pod, and, I like to add it to cake batters because the seeds distribute themselves evenly throughout the mixture.  1 tablespoon paste = 1 tablespoon extract = 1 bean pod.

Vanilla powder is a free-flowing sugar which may be used in place of pure extract in any recipe.  It stirs into beverages, and, gets sprinkled onto desserts.  I particularly like it for making vanilla cake frosting because it doesn't affect the color like extract does.  1 tablespoon powder = 1 tablespoon extract.

5 ingredients + 5 minutes of time = very very vanilla frosting 

IMG_8018The next time you consider a run to the grocery store to pick up a can of "rich and creamy" vanilla frosting (in an effort to save time), think again. You can have far better frosting made in far less time than it takes to get to the store and back! 

6  tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, very soft

6  tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature

2  teaspoons vanilla bean paste

2  teaspoons vanilla powder

3  cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring*

IMG_8024*Note:  Confectioners' sugar contains cornstarch which can cause it to get lumpy -- especially over a period of time.  It's not imperative that it be sifted, I recommend it a trouble shooting tip. For example:  I opened a new box today and I did not sift it.  I finished off an old box last week (to make ~ Deceivingly Dark-Chocolate Sour-Cream Frosting ~) and I did sift it.

~ Step 1.  Allow butter to soften for 45-60 minutes.  Sift the confectioners' sugar and set aside.

IMG_7984 IMG_7696~ Step 2.  In a medium bowl over high speed of mixer, beat butter, sour cream, vanilla paste & powder until very creamy, 2 1/2-3 minutes.

IMG_7987~ Step 3. Turn mixer off. Add the powdered sugar.

IMG_7992~ Step 4.  Over low speed of mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl constantly with a rubber spatula, blend in the confectioners' sugar. This will take about 1 minute. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue to beat for 3 full minutes.  You will have 3 cups of super-creamy decadently- delightful frosting.  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to one week. Return to room temperature, 2-3 hours, prior to spreading on cake or piping onto my recipe for:

~ For the Love of Vanilla:  Double Vanilla Cupcakes ~

IMG_8010Delightfully Double-Vanilla Sour-Cream Frosting:  Recipe yields 3 cups.

Special Equipment List:  mesh sieve; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula

IMG_7867Cook's Note:  If you're one of my fellow "double-the-vanilla" foodies, I hope I've convinced you to add vanilla bean paste and vanilla powder to your pantry shelf. I encourage you to use them in conjunction with tried-and-true pure vanilla extract and real-deal vanilla bean pods too.  Our food world is a better place with all of them in it! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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