Make the Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 2/3 cups sugar, superfine is best (or you can run regular sugar through a food processor)
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites plus 1 whole large egg
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans. This recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.
Mix dry ingredients. Add butter until crumbly, like damp sand.
Add egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg.
In a bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla. Add, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1-2 minutes after each addition.
Bake 18-20 minutes until they spring back at a light touch.
Whip up the Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
seeds from one vanilla bean
2 tsp clear vanilla (you can use regular vanilla if you don't need a pristine white frosting)
1 1/2 lbs confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a mixer, whip up the butter and vanilla bean seeds until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar.
Add the vanilla. Lastly, add the heavy cream and whip for 3-4 minutes until it has increased in volume and is nice and light and fluffy.
If you want to swirl color into the frosting, assemble your piping bag with the tip you want. I usually use a large star tip to frost cupcakes. Streak the inside of the piping bag in three lines, evenly spaced apart, with the color of your choice. I used purple. Fill the pastry bag with frosting. When you squeeze it out, it will be streaked with color. Voila! Magic!
To get some faerie sparkles, sprinkle white sanding sugar on the frosted cupcakes. For extra sparkle, dust them with silver luster dust, which you can buy from Michael's (or other Crafting stores) in the baking section.
Enjoy your magical cupcakes!