Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Brown Butter Pumpkin Caramel Cupcakes
Hey everyone! Oh how I've missed having the time to spend on this blog! Likely I could be spending my time more wisely right now, but what the heck, it's almost 10:30, and I'm gonna whip out this post and then go to bed! Such is the life of a graduate student... all work no play these days. But, with much anticipation, bubbling feelings of pure joy, and more excitement than I've had in awhile, I WILL BE DONE my first semester of grad school by this Friday!!!!!! One more paper to go, some finishing touches on a take-home exam, and then freeeedom!
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to having some time off after these past few weeks. Time that I can put towards visiting my friends and family, baking delicious Christmas goodies, cleaning (yes, I said I'm looking forward to cleaning- Sean says I'm slightly anal when it comes to keeping things clean and tidy, however I can tell you that has NOT been the case the last few weeks), and relaxing! Not to mention I can't wait for Christmas to be here, and Sean's birthday! For those of you who don't know, his birthday is on Christmas day, which frankly I can't think of one good thing about the timing of that other than it's a guaranteed time to be with family.
I actually made these cupcakes a couple weeks ago for one of my last classes. They were very yummy, albeit a little dense; I would recommend filling the liners only 1/2-2/3 so that in the end there is a good balance between cake and icing. I topped the cupcakes off with hard caramel. It's simple enough: you make caramel syrup as you normally would and then set it aside for a few minutes to cool and harden. Once it's at the consistency of honey, you can dip a spoon in and flick, drizzle, dollop- whatever design you want onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let it harden and then peel it off, as good as that!
P.S. I apologize for the poor picture quality (not that mine is fabulous in the first place), but with having limited time I was only able to snap a few pictures very quickly in the evening when there was no natural lighting anymore :(
Yield: 14-16 cupcakes
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4-1/3 cup caramel sauce, store-bought or home-made
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
*This makes quite a bit of icing for 12 cupcakes. I multiplied it by 1.5 to frost 24 cupcakes, and there was still extra, so unless you love tons of frosting (and I mean lots!), I would cut the recipe by a quarter.
*For a good recipe on caramel sauce, check out my post on Apple Caramel Cake.
*The caramel used for decorations is not quite the same as this recipe. 1) You don't need nearly this amount, so you can cut it significantly. 2) You stop before adding the heavy cream or butter, that changes it from caramel syrup to sauce.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Add the butter to a medium saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted it will bubble and get a white foam on top. Eventually this will reduce and the butter will turn brown and smell nutty. You may begin to see brown bits sitting at the bottom, this is good and you want to use those for the cupcakes. However, watch it carefully, for it can turn from brown to burnt quickly. Once it's complete pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a second larger bowl mix the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and cooled brown butter. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until just combined.
Divide the batter among the liners, filling each about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until when tested with a toothpick it comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pans before removing them to the racks to cool completely.
For the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment. Gradually add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (unless you want it to explode all over your counter- ahem) until you reach your desired consistency. Add in your caramel, vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. If frosting is not firm enough, simply add more powdered sugar or refrigerate until firm.
Frost and garnish cooled cupcakes as desired.
Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures