Sunday, May 8, 2011

Creme Brulee Cupcakes

A couple weeks ago, I found a cupcake recipe that had to be tried.  There was no question about it.  In the words of 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, my first thought was, “I want to go to there.” (Admittedly, ever since I first heard Tina Fey use that line, it’s been my “go to” response for many an amazing looking recipe.)  What kind of cupcakes could elicit this type of response?  CRÈME BRULEE CUPCAKES.  Yeah, now you understand.

The cupcakes I made actually combined a couple different recipes.  The inspiration for these came from Beantown Baker.  I used their fantastic recipe for the cupcakes. This recipe is for about 24 cupcakes.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons 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
3 tablespoons caramel syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.  In a separate mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately beat in dry ingredients and milk.  Add caramel syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Gently fold whites into batter.
Spoon batter into cupcake papers.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*If you’re like me and like to do everything in your stand mixer, you should probably beat the egg whites before starting on the rest of the recipe. 

Once I had found one crème brulee cupcake recipe, I did a quick search to see what else would turn up.  I also found these cupcakes at Une-Deux Senses.  I liked the idea of having actual custard style crème brulee in the center instead of a meringue buttercream.  (I will have to try that sometime though.)  I did use this crème brulee recipe for the centers.  Although it was good, it still didn’t beat my favorite crème brulee recipe I’ve found so far.  The recipe I used for the cupcakes was actually a Paula Deen recipe.  Since she always uses more butter, cream and sugar than anyone on the planet, I’m a little surprised the crème brulee only used about ½ the sugar of other recipes.   Next time I make these, (and I’m sure there will be a next time), I’ll use this recipe for the centers.  I ended up with a little extra crème brulee after I filled the cupcakes, but nobody at my house was complaining. 

Make sure to make your crème brulee early enough that it has time to chill in the fridge.  To fill the cupcakes, I used the cone method of taking a knife & running it in a circle to cut a cone shape out of the cupcake.  I cut the large part of the cone (the top of the cupcake) off to put back on after filling.  Next, use a spoon to scoop in some crème brulee.  Replace the top to make the surface even. 

To top it off, I added some vanilla bean buttercream.  This is an excellent recipe. 
2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2½ cups confectioners' sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Use mixer with whisk attachment to cream butter. Add seeds from 1 vanilla bean and cream for about 15 secs.  Add confectioner’s sugar & salt and beat until blended.  Add vanilla extract and heavy cream.  Beat until light and fluffy.  I used a Pampered Chef decorator tool to decorate my cupcakes.

I was quite pleased with these cupcakes.  My mother-in-law actually declared them the best cupcakes she’d ever eaten and later described them as “a little piece of heaven.”  These cupcakes do take quite a bit of effort, but they are definitely worth it.

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