Monday, December 19, 2011

Creme Brulee Cupcakes

I love Creme Brulee...then again, who wouldn't love the stuff? It has a nice but not overly sweet flavor, and crunchy sugar topping that has been caramelized using fire (you can't go wrong with fire and dessert- as long as the fire was a planned part of the dessert process and not an unhappy consequence of course). 

Now, stick that crunchy caramely custardy goodness in a cupcake, and you have a little cup of heaven that pleases the masses (or even just your husband, your BFF on their birthday, or yourself when you're really in the mood to just indulge). FYI- I adapted this recipe from the I Heart Cuppycakes blog.

For cupcakes
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for the egg whites
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk (I used Heavy Whipping Cream or you could use half and half too)
3 tablespoons caramel syrup (I used homemade salted caramel- but Mrs. Robinson's caramel syrup or Hershey's caramel syrup work great too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps: Prep: Preheat oven to 340 degrees F and line cupcake pan with liners.
1) Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the two egg yolks until incorporated.
2) Add in the vanilla, caramel and milk or heavy whipping cream.
3) Make a dry mixture with the flour, salt and baking powder, then slowly incorporate into the wet mixture.
4) In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, then fold the egg whites into the batter, or mix them in on "slow" in your stand mixer.
5) Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake from 15-20 minutes until cupcakes have a golden brown crust.
Note- cupcakes will be slightly porous but that's ok- you still need to add the frosting! Sometimes if they do not bake long enough they will slightly cave in the middle, but that is still ok because you will fill with the frosting to make the creme brulee!

For Frosting
1 stick butter (1/2 C), softened
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened (I usually buy pre-whipped)
4 C powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 C brown sugar (to taste)

1) Blend together the butter and cream cheese until well combined and smooth.
2) Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth.
3) Add in the brown sugar and beat until smooth and slightly fluffy.

Combining the two:
1) Once cupcakes have cooled, using a piping bag fitted with a plain coupler- no tip is needed (or ziploc bag that has been cut), pipe some of the filling into the cupcake (by sticking the coupler slightly under the surface of the crust), and slightly squeeze until the filling rises above the surface, then continue to squeeze until you get a little mound of frosting on top of the cupcake (see photo above).
2) Sprinkle a little bit of sugar (about 1/2-1 teaspoon) on top of the frosting.
3) Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar- it may turn dark or look like it is turning into beads of sugar, but keep going a little longer until you get a nice caramelized sugar topping.
4) Serve warm or cool- either way these are super yummy!

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