Vanilla Spice Cupcakes

I have been working on this one for a while. Perfecting and waiting. I finally bit the bullet and wrote down my new “perfect” recipe (until the next one comes along anyway). My family was having a dessert get-to-gether and I needed to whip something up quickly, and decide that instead of using testers, I was going to test it myself! My family is really happy about this choice. There is nothing I love more than the taste of vanilla. It’s like unicorn tears to me, and adding salted caramel is like adding glitter unicorn tears. These don’t fail to disappoint.

1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used avocado, you can use melted coconut, canola, or veggie depending on what you have)
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 1/2 butter milk
3 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon cardamom (optional, but advised)

0. Pre-heat oven to 350* and line cupcake pan with liners.
1. Bring all ingredients to room temp. This step is not optional.
2. Sift together both flours, baking powder and soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom.
3. Add vanilla to the buttermilk.
4. In mixing bowl, combine the oil and butter with paddle attachment. Mix until well blended and smooth.
5. Beat in eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add sour cream. Scrape down sides. We’re about the get crazy here.
6. Put mixer on low so the flour wont hit you in the face. Alternate dry and wet ingredients into the butter/egg mixture. You will add the flour in 3 times, and the wet in 2 sets. Start and end with the dry ingredients. (1/3 dry, 1/2 wet, 1/3 dry, rest of wet, rest of dry.)
7. Do not over mix. Mix until just smooth. I really mean not to over mix! “Smooth” is objective. (A few small lumps will bake out.)
8. Fill liners half way. Bake for 15-18 minutes until tooth pick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese
1 cup butter
about 1 pound of sifted powdered sugar (Half a bag)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon sour cream

1. Again, all ingredients must be brought to room temp. I’m not joking here. Don’t fudge this.
2. Mix cream cheese and butter together with whisk attachment until smooth and fluffy. Color will be light.
3. Add salt, vanilla, and sour cream.
4. Add powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency for piping. It will be around 1 pound depending on your other ingredients, and humidity.

Salted Caramel — I am sure when this is cooled it could be put in as a core, but I have not tried it.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup half and half or cream (I never have this, so I use 1/3 cup whole milk, with 2 tablespoons of butter to make up for the lack of fat content)
4 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Mix brown sugar and corn starch in a pan until they are well mixed.
2. Turn burner on medium.
3. Add water, cream, corn syrup, and salt.
4. Stirring constantly, cook until boiling. Cook while boiling for an additional 3-5 minutes until smooth.
5. Don’t let it burn. It’s a huge pain to clean that pan.
6. Remove from burner and add butter and vanilla.
7. Cool completely before using.

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