Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream – Gluten Free

June 17, 2012

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I am almost in a place where I may be able to come up for air (maybe after Tuesday). The past 6 weeks, or so, has left me exhausted, spent, weary, and in desperate need of a 2 hour massage. Or a full day at the Korean Spa!

Last Friday, 2 of my three boys graduated; one is heading off to high school and the other will be entering middle school. Levi graduates from Kindergarten today. Lots and lots of planning, parties, special culmination events (thousands of events), and endless baking and creating for the end of the year gifts and parties.

One of the amazing events that our school presents to the 5th graders is “This is Your Life”. The fourth graders write up a summary of their assigned class mate. As parents, it’s our job to answer questions based on our child’s life. Then, the 4th graders interpret our words, add some humor, and presents their summary in front of the class. Coupled with that, we have a class party.

Originally, I offered to make a cake. But with so much going on (and being part of the culmination committee), time did not permit. With lots of solo cups on hand, I made some gluten free cupcakes, all with ingredients found in my pantry. The butter cream was inspired by some left over homemade dulce de leche, resting in the fridge and I kept the cupcakes simple.

As I reflect back on the 1,000 plus photos I took over the past 6 days, I am somewhat sad. Friday I was joyful, excited, but mostly emotional. As Isaac performed with the other 103 5th graders in the morning and Eli marched to the traditonal graduation song in the afternoon, I cried. I cried in the morning and I cried in the afternoon.

Not out of sadness, simply because I am in amazement of how quickly time goes by and I how in awe I am of what incredible young men my babies are becoming. These times are teaching me to not take it all so seriously, not let the little stuff ruffle my feathers, and to do my best to be in the moment.

We, as a family, have so much to look forward to, so MANY blessings, and lots and lots more memories to create and share together. I am one lucky lady!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream – Gluten Free
yield: 18 cupcakes, made in 2 ounce Solo cups

4.5 ounces | 126 grams | 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , room temperature
7 ounces | 200 grams | 1 cup organic, whole cane sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
3 ounces | 85 grams | 1/2 cup brown rice flour
3 ounces | 83 grams | 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sweet, white rice flour
1 ounce | 29 grams tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
3 1/4 ounces | 94 grams | 1/3 cup buttermilk, cold
1 recipe dulce de leche buttercream

• preheat oven to 350*.
• line cupcake pans with paper liners or solo cups. lightly butter the paper liners.
• in a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. set aside.
• in the work-bowl of your electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
• add the eggs, one at a time, mixing completely after each egg.
• scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod. add the seeds to the batter (I save the pods and throw them in a jar of organic, cane sugar – thus creating vanilla sugar).
• alternately, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients until all is incorporated and combined.
• using a 1/4 cup ice cream scooper, fill liners 3/4 full.
• bake 18 – 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs.
• while the cupcakes cool on racks, make the buttercream.
• using your favorite pastry tip, pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
• share, eat, and enjoy!


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Noriko Nakada June 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Loved getting to share in a third of your family’s great day! Great post and delicious-looking cupcakes.


2 Susan June 18, 2012 at 5:16 am

Yes, Noriko – what a gift you have been to Eli. You (and Robin) will be those two teachers he carries with him as he goes on to both high school and college. You are not through with him yet…


3 Noriko Nakada June 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Oh, good, and who knows, maybe another Salzman will find his way into my classroom someday.


4 Sally Cameron June 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Susan, you are one amazing mom, not to mention baker and blogger. What a huge week for your family. Congratulations! That spa day with massage sounds over due!


5 Susan June 18, 2012 at 5:16 am

Thanks, Sally. Life gets busy and crazy but I am forced to keep it all in perspective!


6 IdaBaker June 18, 2012 at 1:07 am

Congratulations on the big school news. It’s always a proud moment when your child moves up to a new school. So much excitement, and smiles.

Before you know it, they will be off to college. 🙂


7 Susan June 18, 2012 at 5:17 am

Yes, college. It has been on my mind…Thanks for popping by and for the congrats!


8 Kim June 18, 2012 at 4:18 am

Sooooo cute, graduation… I organized, for the last 2 years, the graduation in the Hight school where I teach… I was just exausted when it was done… So I know exactly waht you’ve been trough! The cupcakes looks pretty awesome to me!


9 Susan June 18, 2012 at 5:17 am

I love that you are a teacher, Kim. Truly one of the best professions!


10 Maria June 18, 2012 at 5:28 am

I love all of the family photos! Cute cupcakes too!


11 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. June 18, 2012 at 6:03 am

those look amazing! Hope you had a great weekend!


12 Toni @ Boulder Locavore June 18, 2012 at 7:14 am

Ok first of all could you have a more darling family?! Thank you for including the pics at the end. All your children are so good looking and happy-looking! Love when joy just exudes from children.

Next I feel your pain and your joy. I have two tots, one in Middle School and one in elementary school. The time between Spring Break and the end of the year is always such complete madness between school events, deliverables, field trips, projects, etc etc. You know the list. It’s much more like running a marthon than volunteering. I’m happy to be reading your lovely post and recipe with some time and space so the pace you describe is no longer palpable.

A friend once told me the days are long and the years are short. I try to soak up every day as my children grow feeling once they get into elementary school time feels like sand through my finger tips. Bravo for pulling off this beautiful recipe too. I hope you’ll settle into a wonderful summer with your family feeling great about all you have done to make their school moments so special.


13 Susan June 18, 2012 at 7:24 am

Toni, thanks for your insightful words! All of us moms get so caught up in the hustle bustle of the day to day that we loose sight of the little moments. This summer, I am going to take advantage of the little moments, jot them down, and savour them. You and I seem like we are on the same path, kid wise, and I love your quote, “days are long and the years are short”. So true, Toni!


14 HeatherChristo June 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

What beautiful boys you have Susan. It is scary how fast the time goes, isn’t it! You will be so happy for those 1,000 photographs very soon. These cupcakes look amazing- I pine for dulce de leche frosting!


15 Susan June 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Going through the photos and eliminating the bad ones gives me great pleasure! I just love creating all of these wonderful memories.


16 marla June 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

Congrats to your boys!!! Such a lovely family + you look GREAT Susan 🙂
These cupcakes look great too!


17 Susan June 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

thanks, Marla! kiss kiss!


18 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] June 18, 2012 at 8:49 am

Wow. What an eventful couple of days. I am sure it was an emotional rollercoaster. Congrats to your two boys! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe and the family photos. 🙂


19 aida mollenkamp June 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

Congratulations on all the graduations, Susan!


20 Lucy Lean June 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Loved seeing the pics of you with your boys – sorry men! and am now craving these cupcakes – thanks for sharing the memories – roll on Summer hols!


21 Esi June 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Those are the fluffiest looking gluten free cupcakes that I have ever seen!


22 Brooke @ Food Woolf June 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Susan, you are such an incredible mom. It’s no wonder you have such incredible boys! They really are growing up so fast, but you are making the most of every moment with your beautiful acts of kindness and appreciation. Congratulations to your three boys, you and your husband. What a week!


23 Susan June 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Thanks so much Brooke, for your kind words. It does roll by so quickly and when I do find myself in that “crazy” space in my head it is then that I reflect and find the gratitude. These are very precious times and I hope to be creating memories that one day my boys can embrace and hold on to. xx


24 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Love that picture of you and your beautiful family, congrats to all the young grads! You hit the nail on head when you said that time flies and not to let the little things ruffle your feathers, good advice we all lose sight of sometimes.


25 Susan June 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thanks, Sylvie. Now that all of my festivities are behind us, I would love to organize another lunch or dinner….let’s put something on the calendar.


26 Kristina Vanni June 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

What a great way to celebrate! I loved reading about this special event and can’t wait to try these delicious treats!


27 Susan June 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

Thanks, Kristina! I am just now coming down for the high and all of the activities that the last few weeks entailed! Now, I can breath, enjoy my boys, and slip into summer.


28 mindy cole June 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

hi susan
you have a beautiful family and as always i’m in awe of you!
yes it goes by so fast its unbelievable, enjoy.


29 Susan June 21, 2012 at 8:43 am

Thanks so much Mindy! I am calculating how old your boys are and I am overwhelmed in thinking of your little babies, I met years ago in Arizona, as men. Not fair, right!? xxx


30 EA-The Spicy RD June 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

You have a beautiful family and I loved your post! My kids last few weeks at school were a whirlwind of activity too, although no graduates this year. My eldest will head off to middle school at the end of next year, so I’ll probably spend some time in tears just like you. OK-time to do some baking…these cupcakes look fabulous, and the dulce de Leche buttercream frosting sounds divine! Congratulations 🙂


31 Susan June 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hi! So good to hear from you. We both have “middle-schoolers” and just a little fyi (having already gone through it), embrace that it is “just middle school”, don’t take it all so seriously, realize that this is the time when they are not only learning how to study and grasp the concept of “learning”, but learning who they are and how they fit in, and lastly, technology will become their best friend (just keep an eye on it)!


32 Patricia Scarpin June 25, 2012 at 4:51 am

Congratulations to the boys! And to you, their wonderful mother, Suz! This special occasion surely needed something delicious to celebrate and these cupcakes are perfect for it – they look super delicious! I love ddl.


33 Susan June 25, 2012 at 5:41 am

Patricia, my friend! Thank you so much for your kindness and yes, it was a very special occasion. The celebration continues as we glide into summer; lots of lazy days, bike riding, swimming, and simply lounging!!! Miss you. xxx


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