I then decided to make my own and take some inspiration from the ice cream method. I used lots of fresh vanilla, a few extra egg yolks, and a bit of cream with the milk for a rich cake that was moist and dense, yet still had a nice crumb. A simple meringue flavored with a bit of rose water was the perfect finish. Sweet, flavorful, and a nice textural match to the cake.
It took many, many, many tries to get this one to come out to something I like and would write up. They still brown a bit around the edges a bit more than I would prefer, but that doesn't affect the taste at all.
In trying to make the cake comparable to a French custard like ice cream, this cake is heavy, dense, and very powerful in flavor. I can see this recipe making for a wonderful layer cake as well. It's a comforting cupcake perfect for meeting the soon to come chilly winds that will be heralding in the fall.
French Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 24 / 350F Oven
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups of sugar or vanilla sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
What You'll Do...
1) Beat butter on high until soft for 30 seconds.
2) Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
3) Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4) Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, in a bowl.
5) Measure out milk and vanilla extract in another glass. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk.
6) Mix in the flour mixture then the milk mixture, alternating between the two and ending with the flour. Mix throughly.
7) Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 full (due to the custardy nature of the batter, it is imperative you mix the ingrdients thuroughly and only fill halfway to avoid overflow or deflation, but frosting always covers up these little flaws so no huge worries if it happens).
8) Bake for 18-22 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of rose water (ideally, you could also use orange blossom water, or vanilla extract as well)
What You'll Do...
Whisk the egg whites and medium speed for 30 seconds, then go to high speed. When frothy, slowly add the sugar and whip until soft peaks form. Add the rose water and whisk for a moment more. Be sure that everything and your hands are totally clean, the slightest bit of oil can screw a meringue.
I had quite a bit left over after all this, so I popped the meringue in little dollops into the oven at 350F for 30 minutes on top of some baking paper for some rose meringue cookies. Yum!