Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting


Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Directions

  1. For the cupcakes: Put rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray; line with muffin cups.
  2. Whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped pecans.
  3. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  6. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. Do ahead Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.
  7. For the frosting: Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup turns deep amber, swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, 6 to 7 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl. Very gradually whisk hot caramel into yolks. Cool to room temperature.
  9. Using electric mixer, beat butter and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in caramel. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 1 hour.
  10. Spread frosting over cupcakes. Place pecans on plate. Roll edges of cupcakes in nuts.

Makes 12.

Black Bottom Cupcakes


Black-Bottom Cupcakes
David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate via Leite’s Culinaria

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling:
Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes:

1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.

2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.

4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.* Spoon a few tablespoons** of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.

5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

* Whoops! I plum forgot this step. I had even chopped the chocolate and everything. I just forgot to add it. I think I was too excited about the dolloping.

* I used a small (1-3/8 inch across), spring-loaded ice cream scoop for this and it came out to three scoops per cupcake.
** I used the same scoop for this step and came out to two scoops per cupcake. Next time I might try a little less—perhaps 1.5 scoops (which would leave some left over, yes)—for a more centered, offset white middle.