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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23 Responses to “Creme Brulee Cupcakes”

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    Joelen — April 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    What a delicious entry and thank you for submitting it to this month’s Tasty Tools!

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    alauna — April 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    yum – these look so good!

    i often write posts well after the recipe has been made and photographed, especially if there’s no recognizable feature (like a holiday).

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    Amy Kingman — April 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    woah! these look fantastic!!! Jen, are you EVER moving to Indy? We need to move in next door to each other. We’ll help you ‘take care of’ all of your experiments. :)

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    Jen — April 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Ha Amy – I doubt we’d ever end up in Indy… Cincy is about as close as we’ll get… Or you guys can move to Boston ;)

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    Jessica — April 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    They look amazing! Great job!

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    Stephanie Wagner — April 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    What a great idea – two tastey desserts in one! I like Amy’s idea too. At least if you live in Cincy we could get a carrier pigeon or something…

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    Jen — April 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Or we just need a carrier pigeon who can handle the distance from Boston.

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    Erin — April 17, 2009 at 12:23 am

    This looks great! My husband’s favorite dessert is also creme brulee :)

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    oneparticularkitchen — April 17, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Oh my heavens! That looks so good!

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    bricogirl — April 17, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I really like the way you frosted these – gives me ideas. Here’s a creme brulee recipe for anyone interested in trying – it’s really easy – but you’re right – doesn’t travel. Happy baking.

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    Netts Nook — April 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing mouth watering I love Creme Brulee. So good.

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    Ingrid — April 17, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Yum those sound & look DELISH! Thanks for sharing the recipe & tip on another way to frost my cupcakes. :)
    ~ingrid

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    Stephanie — April 18, 2009 at 1:45 am

    These look amazing!

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    bakergirlcreations — April 18, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Super cute way to ice the cupcakes! Creme Brulee is my favourite dessert, I think these need to be added to my list of must makes!

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    Maris — April 18, 2009 at 4:29 am

    I like your blogging strategy – I tend to be the exact same way! Sometimes I get so backlogged and other times, I’ll have 10 posts sitting as drafts.

    These cupcakes look so good – a nice twist on a traditional frosted cupcakes. I would have never thought to do this.

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    Colleen — April 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Wow – what a fabulous recipe! They must be delicious!

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    madebymel — April 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I made these last year and they were SO GOOD! I love creme brulee.

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    Xiaolu — April 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I’d like to try making these for a coworker’s birthday, but I have 2 questions. First, is there anyway to toast the top if I don’t have a torch? Second, how far in advance could I make all or any of the components? Thanks!

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    Jen — May 2, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Xiaolu – Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I was on vacation. I don’t know if you could torch them without a torch… I know for creme brulee you can use a broiler, but it doesn’t work so well. I wouldn’t make these too far in advance. We noticed the cupcakes going stale within a day or two.

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    Xiaolu — May 5, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Hi again, Jen! I didn’t end up making these until tonight. They taste good, but this was my first time making SMBC and I think I did something wrong. It’s funny, my buttercream never broke/curdled when I added the butter and I heard slapping noises almost immediately. But it was too soft to pipe, so I chilled it then rewhipped. Unfortunately, the SMBC softened again pretty quickly and also started looking a little curdled. Do you have any idea what I might’ve done wrong? Could the meringue have been too warm still when I added the butter? Thanks again!

    Xiaolu

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    Jen — May 15, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Xiaolu – Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I’m no expert on SMBC, but your butter may have been too soft. It should be just at room temp. I would definitely check out this tutorial on SMBC. I found it very helpful when I was first starting to make SMBC.

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    Tonya — November 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve made these cupcakes, and they are amazing, but when I use my creme brulee torch to carmelize the sugar, the frosting melted and slid off the cupcake. To get around this, I carmelized the brown sugar on a piece of tinfoil and then placed the pieces on top of the frosting. I tried using a smaller flame, holding the torch further away from the cupcake, and even froze the cupcake with the frosting for a little bit, but nothing would stop the frosting from melting off. Am I doing something wrong?

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    Jen — November 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Tonya, It’s been a while since I made these, but I do remember that the first one I did, the frosting melted off. After that I had Hubby do the torching and he just kept the flame further away from the frosting. We also let the set before moving them once they had been torched. Sorry that you’re having so much trouble with the recipe. But it sounds like you may have found a solution.

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