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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42 Responses to “Purple Ombre Cake”

  1. #
    Anonymous — June 11, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Thank you so much for this idea and the tutorial! I made a purple ombré cake this weekend and it was a big hit for my daughter’s 4the birthday party!! I used your raspberry curd recipe and basic vanilla buttercream and it was so yummy! Next time I make it I will splurge on better food coloring because the colors were pretty muted.
    I also made it a little easier on myself by going darkest on top to light-that way when I frosted I started at the bottom with the lightest frosting and then made the frosting darker for the next layer… Helped me so that I’d didn’t have too many bowls of frosting an piping bags going.

  2. #
    mcretz — September 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    How far in advance do you think is okay to frost it? I’m making the cake for a baby shower Saturday evening, but we have another event during the day. Do you think Friday would be okay to frost it? I just don’t want the frosting to get hard! Thanks!!!

  3. #
    Anonymous — November 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    What color purple did you use and how much for each color?

    • beantownbaker — January 3rd, 2013 @ 10:16 am

      I didn’t actually pay attention, I just added purple until I liked the colors. Sorry I can’t be more helpful…

  4. #
    Anonymous — January 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    The links for the cake and icing are no longer available. Is there any way to get them?

    • beantownbaker — January 3rd, 2013 @ 10:16 am

      It looks like some of my links died with my redesign. I will try to get this fixed today.

  5. #
    Shereen — January 22, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for the superb idea! I’ve never tried piping flowers, thinking it would be too complicated. Your video laid those fears to rest – I was so thrilled with the results of the purple rose cake I tried last night, and I used your curd recipe to make an orange marmalade curd filling – so delish I sneak the leftovers with a spoon!! Thank you!!

    • beantownbaker — January 22nd, 2013 @ 7:42 am

      So glad to hear that the video was helpful for you! Roses are definitely easier than most people would assume.

      Orange marmalade curd sounds amazing!!

  6. #
    Christina @ Diary of a Teenage Baker — March 7, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I made a cake inspired by this one for a bridal shower a few weeks ago! I wanted to try the passionfruit curd but I couldn’t find the fruit puree at my grocery store 🙁 I’ll keep looking in other stores!

    • beantownbaker — March 9th, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

      Bummer. It is a somewhat item to find in the store…

  7. #
    Jessica — March 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’m totally inspired by this cake. It’s so beautiful! I want to make it later this week for my birthday! I was thinking of filling it with Apricot Jam though… Do you think I could try to make a curd from the jam, rather than the fruit puree you used? Or would it be fine to simply fill it with the jam?? I appreciate your opinion on this!! Thanks 🙂

    • beantownbaker — March 18th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

      I’m not sure that making the curd from jam would work. I think I’d just use the jam as-is. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  8. #
    Judith — April 23, 2013 at 5:57 am

    I made this cake on the weekend for my daughter’s birthday in pink ombre. Not only did it look amazing, it was seriously the yummiest cake I’ve ever tasted. Your instructions were spot on and so easy to follow. The measurements were exact and it all came together beautifully! Thank you so much for sharing.

    PS I couldn’t get the passionfruit puree either but used lemon curd, which worked wonderfully.

    • beantownbaker — April 23rd, 2013 @ 7:46 am

      So glad you enjoyed the cake and the instructions were helpful for you! Happy birthday to your daughter 🙂

  9. #
    ADR — April 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm


    I plan on making this for my daughter’s baptism in June – just a quick question – do you think white roses would have worked on the top of the cake?



    • beantownbaker — April 25th, 2013 @ 7:44 am

      Definitely! You could do it in all white or any gradient of colors you want. Let me know how it goes.

  10. #
    Deb — May 22, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I wanted to do this cake idea in a ‘1’ shape cake tin for my daughters first birthday. Do you think it would be too difficult? Also, do you reduce the cooking time by a quarter if you are doing 4 layers? Thanks in advance!

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

      Sorry for not responding sooner, I didn’t see this comment until now…

      I’ve never baked this cake in a shaped cake tin. Are there instructions for baking times with the tin? If you already made this, how did it turn out?

  11. #
    Carole — May 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Jen, spectacular. Thanks for joining the cake extravaganza. Cheers

  12. #
    sashy — June 20, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Hii … I really falling in love with your purple ombre cake, wanna make it for my birthday but I am little bit confuse with the baking time, if we use 9inch baking pan, how long we need to bake it and in what temperature? Thank you

    • beantownbaker — June 20th, 2013 @ 7:00 am

      If you follow the link for the White Cupcakes in the recipe, it says to bake the cake layers for 23-25 minutes at 350.

  13. #
    ADR — June 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Hi! I made this cake this weekend for my daughter’s baptism – it turned out pretty good! It didn’t look quite as good as yours….but it wasn’t too shabby! Did it in shades of purple too as my daughter’s name is ‘Violet’! THANKS for the inspiration! Would post a picture but there doesn’t seem to be that option here.

    • beantownbaker — June 24th, 2013 @ 7:23 am

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe! There is no way to post a picture on here, but I’d love to see it! Feel free to post it on my Facebook page!

  14. #
    Sharon Athanasiou — August 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    May I ask what tip you used to pipe these roses?

    • beantownbaker — August 25th, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

      I use a large star tip. I’m not at home right now to get the exact number of it… Also, I made a video about how to pipe a rose here

  15. #
    Najia — August 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I made an ombre cake (pink and purple) twice by using your white chocolate buttercream recipe. I cut the powdered sugar to three cups instead of five since most desserts are just too sweet. I used a different white cake recipe and instead of the passion fruit curd, I used a Swiss meringue buttercream as a replacement. I get rave reviews from the decoration (nice tip) and surprisingly, so easy to make the rosettes. It’s true, best to invest in a cake decorating turn table. Thank you for posting this recipe and doing a DIY video, really helped!

    • beantownbaker — August 28th, 2013 @ 7:27 am

      Thanks so much for the note. Glad to hear the video helped. The rose covered cake is such a statement that really isn’t very difficult to execute.

  16. #
    Amanda — November 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks so much for using the Rose technique that I created and originally shared on my blog in 2011. Please do feel free to reference my blog when talking about the Rose Cake.
    I am sure you can understand why I would ask that, as I know you would want to be credited if someone took an idea of yours and blogged about it. Thanks!

  17. #
    Leslie Allo — February 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Which tip did you use to make this cake?

  18. #
    Anty — April 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I’m thinking to make this cake for my niece’s birthday but I’m wondering if there’s possible to decorate from the top to bottom.
    I hate the thought wasting icing if I have to make three different shades from the start. If I could start from the top with white (or the ligthtest) and gradually add more colour for the next row.
    Please let me know what you think.

    • beantownbaker — April 18th, 2014 @ 10:41 am

      I think that would work just fine. Great idea to frost it from the top down. I’ll definitely do that next time.

  19. #
    AAR — April 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    What tip do you use to make the roses?

  20. #
    SAJ — July 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    After making the curd, when do you use it when assembling the cake?

    • beantownbaker — September 2nd, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

      The curd goes between the layers of cake.

  21. #
    Lisa — April 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    This cake looks absolutely perfect! I’ve been looking for some really cute cakes for ages and I think I’ve definitely found one 😉

  22. #
    Lauren — June 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    what could I use as a replacement for te gyro puree? I’m having trouble finding it where I live.


  23. #
    Luisa — October 17, 2015 at 2:24 am

    What brand did you use for the coloring ?

  24. #
    Julie — February 16, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    For the Goya puree, I found a can (looks like a soda can) passion fruit “cocktail” , is that what the recipe is calling for ? or is it in the frozen section and passion fruit concentrate by Goya? I want to follow this recipe exactly.

  25. #
    Mahnoor — May 23, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Hi, thank you so much for the wonderful recipe and inspiration, i made a purple ombre cake following your recipe for my daughter’s birthday party. Only change was that i filled it with lemon curd, everybody loved the cake. Thank you for the detailed recipe and instructions!..:)

  26. #
    Tina — August 7, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I made this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and it not only looked great, but tasted great too! Your recipes were so easy to follow (white cake, coloring the layers, making the rosettes). It was my first attempt at a layered cake and doing any sort of decoration and I received lots of compliments! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  27. #
    Lilia — September 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Looking forward to making this cake for my daughter’s birthday. I’m starting off today with the curd as per your suggestion to split the work. Can you please clarify if the fruit pulp needs to be defrosted prior to using it and if the curd goes into the fridge right after making (still hot)? I’m just starting to get into the world of baking and these may be obvious answers but they are unknowns for me. Thank you.

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