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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creme brulee cheesecake cupcakes

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 3:50 PM

My cupcake hiatus is over. I just can't do it. It was cupcake craziness and I had decided to take a break from making any more baby cakes, but I really can't help myself anymore.

Inspired by the creme brulee cheesecake from Capital Grille, I created the dessert in cupcake form. The original dessert is a mini cheesecake with a crisp bruleed (French for "burned cream") top.

My cupcake version has a caramel cake base to reflect the caramel flavor of the brulee topping. For the cheesecake portion, I went with a cream cheese buttercream frosting. And for the crunch of the hard caramel bruleed layer, I wound spun sugar around the frosting to create a nest of caramelized sugar.

Working with spun sugar is a bit messy and complicated, but the results are beautiful.

click to enlarge collage

So, as you can see, I'm still stuck on cupcakes. Are you? Do you think they are part of a dying fad? Is the cupcake bubble about to burst?

Some say whoopie pies are the new cupcake, others say doughnuts are the new cupcake. What do you think?

[poll id = "4"]

Read on for the recipe...

Caramel Cupcakes

Makes 15 - 20 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 18 - 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Frost with cream cheese buttercream, then top with spun sugar.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter, and shortening. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in refrigerator after use.

Spun Sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup water

Fill a large bowl partially full with ice water.

Put sugar, salt and water in a heavy pan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil. Lower heat slightly and swirl the pan once or twice so the syrup colors evenly; do not stir. Heat caramelized sugar to 310 degrees F (hard crack stage). Remove pan from heat and plunge into iced water for 2 seconds.

Dip a fork into the sugar and swirl around cupcakes.

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