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Vanilla Bean Cupcakes + A Family Wedding!

January 15, 2012

Well, it has been a very merry Christmas indeed!

Not only did I get a nice break from work and a heap of lovely gifts I didn’t deserve (creme brulee mini-torch and a Kindle to name a few!!)…

…My darling brother got married!

Speaking of that “break” from work… I wouldn’t exactly call it restful.  See, I’m not what you’d call an experienced event caterer.  I don’t have a professional kitchen.  I don’t have a delivery van.  I own two muffin tins.  And with these meager supplies, I baked and iced 225 vanilla bean cupcakes for the wedding reception.  It was a labor of love, but one that I was so glad to do!  It was delightful to see people enjoying my creations and to bless my brother with an affordable cake for his wedding.


Care to see a few pictures of the grand event?  I also want to show you how to make the cupcakes!  They are super simple to bake, and you can ice them any way you like.  I chose an elegant rose design to tie in with the decor.

The wedding was gorgeous!  There were stunning flowers at every turn.  And the decor was a lovely winter landscape of bare branches, twinkling lights, birdhouses, pinecones, and moss.




It was really quite a collision of the arts.  From the talent of Kelly’s step-father Scott, who selected the gorgeous flowers, to the downright drool-worthy photography of Zach Cheatham, to the beautifully-woven words of poetry offered by Kelly’s brother Michael Gossett… to the decor… to the cupcakes.  I could go on and on.  Like I said, a collective offering of artistic gifts made this one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been a part of.

Look!  I even got to do my sister’s hair for the ceremony.  Isn’t Mallory gorgeous?


The bride and groom were radiant and happy.  They’re a great-looking couple and an even better-acting one!  (By that I mean, what you get inside far surpasses their Abercrombie-model-esque beauty.  They are two rockin’ individuals.  They love the Lord and they love people.  Nuff’ said.)

Photo by Zach Cheatham


I think you get my point.  Wedding = (stunning + perfect) x infinity.

So let’s move on to those cupcakes!

I use the same basic white cake recipe for anything that requires a vanilla cake base.  Why?  Because this recipe is simply the best I’ve found.  It bakes up moist and delicate, with scrumptious aromatic vanilla bean.  There are haters out that who will refuse to make this because it starts with (gasp!) a box… but don’t be one of them.  Be an “Embracer of the Box”, like myself.  I promise we’re happier than the food snobs over on “Team Box-Hater.”


You’ll need a white cake mix, 1 C. flour, 1 C. sugar, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 C. canola oil, real vanilla extract, vanilla beans or paste, 1 1/3 C. water, four eggs (2 whole & two whites), and 1 C. sour cream.  Also cupcake liners are nice as they minimize sticking when removing the cupcakes from the pan.


Grab a large mixing bowl and combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt.


Use a fork or whisk to combine, then set aside.

Grab a smaller bowl, and pour in the oil…


the water…


the sour cream…


…and the eggs (making sure that you reserve two of the four yolks.)  I suppose you could use the extra yolks to make a pudding or something, but I guiltily admit that many egg yolks went into the trash in the making of these cupcakes.  I was in systematic go-mode.  Had to get em’ done!


Next, please add a teaspoon of vanilla.


And the paste of one vanilla bean.  YUM!  It doesn’t get much better than this!


And then grab an electric mixer, and start beating it up!


Beat until just combined.  Then dump the wet ingredients into the dry.  I do this all at once.  Some say you should gradually combine the two, but I don’t like to “gradually add” things.  I probably should, but I dont.  And since I’m the one sharing this recipe, I’m callining the shots and I say we dump them!


Beat for about 2 minutes on medium/high.  When you’re done it should look like this.


At this point, please do me a favor.  Lay a light towel underneath the bowl (to prevent any accidents) and then lift it a few inches off the countertop.  Let it fall gently to the countertop, and repeat this until the bubbles in the batter float to the surface and break free.  This helps create an even texture in your finished cupackes.  (Because despite what Hershey’s Kisses may be trying to promote right now, air bubbles in your desserts do not make them taste better.)


Now, just lightly mist your muffin cups with cooking spray, and fill each one a little over half-full.  I find a 1/3 C. measure does this job quite nicely!


Bake at 325 for 18-22 minutes.  (Mine needed the full 22, but I always suggest watching them for a few minutes before, in case your oven runs hotter than mine.)  You’ll know they’re done when they’ve lost most of the “shininess” on top and have a few faint golden spots.


From there, you can decorate them however your little heart desires.

I went with a vanilla cream cheese icing piped in a rose design.  For this, you start with something in the center (a hershey’s kiss or blob of icing works well.  Something you can build the rose around.)  I used bits of white “Bliss” bars because I didn’t want it to show through.


Sorry I haven’t provided a rose-tutorial.  Time didn’t permit me to do much more than stop for these few pictures.  But I’ll tell you I learned roses at a nearby Michael’s store. They offer cake decorating classes that can be really fun for a group of girlfriends or a mother-daughter outing.  I definitely recommend them, although if you care to read my synopsis of the Cake Decorating Class, you’ll find I’m a bit disenchanted with a certain cake decorating brand which I won’t mention by name.  Still, I picked up some valuable skills.


And here they are arranged at the reception!  The ride to Memphis was no less dramatic than the hobbits’ journey to Mordor (VERY treacherous, I was a wreck.)  But every cupcake made it safe and sound.  The only accidental smooshes came after they’d already been set up at the tables.  (Go figure.)






I hope you enjoy this cupcake recipe.  Make them for your next event… they are absolutely that good!  Just don’t ask me to make them 🙂  I’m a little cupcaked-out at the moment.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn Walters permalink
    January 15, 2012 1:07 pm

    Lovely, Carissa! Enjoyed reading this blog, I think especially so since we were able to BE there and experience the whole wonderful weekend, INCLUDING your delicious cupcakes! The groom’s cupcakes weren’t bad either, eh? Love you, Aunt Carolyn

    • January 15, 2012 7:44 pm

      Amen to that! I had the mocha and LOVED it! The icing was like silk. Kudos to Kellie Dell of Dell-icious Cakes!

  2. anna irwin permalink
    January 15, 2012 2:23 pm

    you are so rad cousin! really, i can’t say much more than that! loved reading this!

  3. Michael Gossett permalink
    January 15, 2012 4:07 pm

    Hey Carissa–I’m particularly glad to see this recipe posted! Your cupcakes were the food-highlight of the night. I guess I have a little Sunday afternoon project now…though maybe just one batch instead of thirty.

    • May 9, 2017 9:41 am

      türkçe mek için sitemizi ziyaret edebilirsiniz seviyenizi düşürmeyiniz alabileceginiz adres oradan kirinayabilirsilaz konusunde iyiiz gibi kelimeler boş heden ama nerde kolay aslında yada olabilir.. nasıl bir tutku bilmiyorum ama mek daha bi güzelnda güzel oyunlar oynayabilirsiniz oyunu çok moda bu aralar mek kolay hemde türkçe ordan sonra hizmetlerimiz ve online me adresimizde me linki bulunmakta gönlünüzce edebilirsiniz ha birde abazalar var unutmayalım me tutkusu olan meyi beceremeyip aciz gibi videoları izlerler..

  4. kathy fridge permalink
    January 15, 2012 6:35 pm

    Didn’t know you had a blog! So glad I followed that Facebook link. The wedding was amazing, your cupcakes were amazing, all of you Dells are amazing (including the wonderful spouses in this, of course) – so blessed that you’re in our lives. Well done!

  5. jacque permalink
    January 15, 2012 7:30 pm

    You are such a wonderful sister and person. I love your recipes you share ,your pictures , comments and your blog. We are sorry we had to miss the wedding as we can see it was truly beautiful.Amy has shared some of the wonderful stories from it and it looks like everyone had a wonderful time. Keep up the good work. We love you

  6. Harrison permalink
    January 16, 2012 2:29 pm

    The brother was so appreciative too! Thank you so much for that wonderful gift. And I enjoyed reading this. “trip to mordor”… I know we crack on your exaggeration, but you are hilarious. love you!

  7. Shalom permalink
    January 24, 2012 8:39 pm

    LOL! Oh my goodness, I would so hire you!!!


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