Creme Brulee Cupcakes

For Hubby’s birthday, I told him I’d make a treat for him to take in to work. As I’ve mentioned before, his favorite dessert is creme brulee. I’ve made it twice for him already. But, creme brulee doesn’t travel to work very well. So instead, I gave him a list of 10 desserts that are at the top of my must-bake list.

When I added this recipe as the last option for him, I knew there was no point in even giving him the list. Sure enough, he chose his favorite dessert in cupcake form for his birthday treat.

I have to admit that I’m very glad he chose this recipe, because it’s amazing. The cupcakes really do taste like creme brulee. I made the cupcakes and frosting the night before his birthday and then we torched them in the morning before heading to work. Hubby said they only lasted about 10 minutes in the kitchen at work.

The other great thing about these cupcakes is that I found my new favorite way to frost a cupcake. I just loved how the cupcakes looked with a good portion of the cake peaking out, but there still being plenty of frosting. I decided at that point that I will be frosting cupcakes like this again (as I did for my Red Velvet cupcakes).

As a side note, for those of you who know, Hubby’s birthday is in February. This post is going up in April. I tend to do this unless there is a deadline for a blogging event. When I make something to be blogged, I add the pictures, recipe and link to the original source, then save it as a draft. Then on some random day, I go back and finish up the post and set it to publish at some point in the future. So on an evening like tonight, I can bust out about 10 posts while Hubby plays video games with his buddy. Then if I don’t have time to write blog posts for another month, it’s ok.

Creme Brulee Cupcakes – Adapted from Clara, originally from How to Eat a Cupcake
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 – I used 1/4 c water + 3/4 c heavy cream
3 tablespoons caramel syrup – I used Smuckers ice cream topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. 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, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

Brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream
1 cup light brown sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.

To assemble cupcakes
Remove center of cupcake using the cone method. Fill cupcake with buttercream. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and caramelize with creme brulee torch.

I’m entering this in Joelen’s Tasty Tools event for April. She’s featuring muffin pans this month!

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13 Responses to “Christmas in July – Homemade Vanilla Extract”

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    SimplySweeter — July 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm
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    How To Be Perfect — July 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Fantastic idea, I will have to give this a go x

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    Kristen — July 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    What a great idea! Now I just have to think of what to pair this with to give as gifts.

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    The Cooking Photographer — July 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Great minds think alike!! I have been brewing vanilla extract for months for Christmas gifts.

    I thought I’d answer your question here. I love your idea for frosting. It would be heavenly!

    Laura

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    Jenni @ Project Cookie 365 — July 27, 2010 at 2:20 am

    What? You can just add more vodka to your supply? I had no idea! I just used the last of my homemade vanilla, and it was soooo deliciously dark 🙂 Now that I know that, I’ll have to remember when I make my next batch! Do you have a favourite type of bean? I used Tahitian the last time, and it didn’t have that “normal” vanilla scent to it… I’ll have to find which beans give that traditional scent (though, really… any vanilla works for me!)

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    Calm In The Kitchen — July 28, 2010 at 1:41 am

    This is definitely on my gift giving list.
    I received homemade vanilla once and it is still one of my favorite gifts.

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    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy — July 28, 2010 at 2:18 am

    I have always wanted to try this!! My brother did it once but that was before I was into cooking and I totally didn’t appreciate it. I would now! Thanks!

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    bcallegra — July 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I think it’s the perfect idea for a gift and never even thought of making it myself. Of course, if I do end up making it, I’ll probably just end up using it all before I give it away! 🙂

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    jmanley — July 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    how many beans did you put in the vodka bottles to start?.. love the idea.. Thanks

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    Jen — July 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    jmanley – I put 24 beans in each bottle of vodka. They were the big bottles of vodka. As you can see in the pictures, I used skyy, which is great, but I couldn’t watch the color of my vanilla change! Definitely try to get clear bottles or pour the vodka into a clear jar so you can tell when it’s ready.

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    jmanley — July 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    thanks for the quick response.
    Love your website:)

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    KV — August 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    what type of vanilla bean did you use – does it matter?

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    Jen — August 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    KV – The type of bean you use will have an impact on the flavor. I used Bourbon-Madagascar beans for my vanilla.

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