In honor of Earth Day and the March for Science I baked. There are no alternative facts with baking. You remember the sodium bicarbonate or you don’t. There is no flatly risen cake. That is a cookie. You bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit–not Celsius– or you melt your ice caps. No arguing dummy. Deniers will smile and nod while they chew a big ol’ mouthful of Stoopid Pie. It doesn’t matter how much Breitbart you ladle over the thing, it still stinks of thawing permafrost.
Contrary to photographic evidence gathered from this blog, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I felt like an outsider in kindergarten. All the other kids loved frosting. I hated school-cake and other kid’s birthday party treats. Didn’t those kids notice the vaseline-ish drag on the roof of their mouths? That didn’t ruin it for them? Why did white icing taste the same as blue? Why were those girls crying over who got a chalky, garbage cake-flower? Take mine you slack-tongued freaks. Frosting described as vanilla tasted like sweetened diaper cream.
My mom put a dash of vanilla in sweet, simmered milk as a treat. I knew the true boozy, mahogany, humid cigar taste of vanilla. How could my town bakery, which made perfectly acceptable donuts, peddle cakes covered in whipped ointment and call them Vanilla? Fake News.
When I crave sweets, I make them with hunky, potent flavors. Red tastes like Red. Cream is CREAMY not Petroleum-ish. I want the vanilla in a thing to make me feel like I’ve been napping, with only my cowboy boots on, in the wood paneled Captain’s quarters of a Tahitian yacht. I don’t want the weak-sauce “vanilla” that dribbles out of the Mr. Frostee spigot. If you’re not picking chunks of vanilla husk out of your teeth, WAS there any vanilla?
I don’t always make the Best Vanilla Frosting In The World, but when I do, I consult The Queens: Her Royal Highness Mascarpone, Her Majesty Butter and Her Grace Cream Cheese. As much as Pure Buttercream would like to rule alone, her power is nothing next to the combined glory of the Cream Queens, The Three Divas.
*Vanilla is not presented in a robust enough way for it’s true character. This frosting is different. Vanilla City. I treat vanilla the way chocolate is handled–lustily, respectfully. I use the whole vanilla bean, shell and all. It is a doofus waste to discard the highly flavorful pod. Don’t be afraid of the little chunks of husk. They are delicious and have a nice chewy texture. Think of them as dark vanilla chips. My hypothesis: People will throw their bottles of vanilla extract ON THE GROUND after cooking with whole, ground vanilla beans. I humbly present my findings and formula.
Three Divas Vanilla Frosting
- 10 ounces Mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick). I used salted butter. Do whatever you want.
- 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 brick)
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
- 2 whole vanilla beans
Set out 8 ounces cream cheese and 10 ounces Mascarpone cheese to warm to room temperature. Be in a room warm enough to soften cream cheese.
Warm 1/2 cup butter to JUST melted (you're not making Ghee). I used a microwave, 25 seconds. There was still a little formed chunk of butter--like an island sinking in rising seas.
Trim the ends off two vanilla beans. Slice lengthwise to open. Don't let the interior pasty seeds get away. SAVE EVERY MOLECULE of the vanilla pod once you trim off and discard the dry, rough tips. Submerge the two bean pods in the warm, mostly melted butter. Let them soak to soften for about 20 minutes
Place the butter, vanilla beans, mascarpone cheese and cream cheese into a food processor or powerful blender.
Sift one cup powdered sugar over the ingredients in the food processor.
Blend to obliterate the bean pods 2-3 minutes.
Sift one more cup powdered sugar into the food processor. Blend 2-3 more minutes. Pulse occasionally. Scrape down the sides of the food processor midway through the processing.
There will be little vanilla husk chunks in the frosting. These are delicious and delicately chewy. Oh Glorious Gods you have a special treat on your hands. I hope it lasts long enough to smear on some cupcakes.
This frosting is INSANELY DELICIOUS--light, rich and super flavorful. Serve a tablespoon (or 20) over a bowl of fresh strawberries. And that is gluten/grain free Yoga Lady.