I have the feeling that I already sorta-kinda introduced these amazing cupcakes to you in another post, but I just can’t remember which one it is. And I’m too lazy to look it up. It’s getting kind of late, you see. Plus, Batman is on! So if I’ve indeed already mentioned these, please forgive my repetitiveness. If I didn’t, just forget about this first (second?) paragraph.
These cupcakes are amazing! Well, if you like brown butter. Which I doooooo! If you’re a regular reader, you know I love brown butter in almost anything… Fruity cakes, loaf cakes, cookies with oats…. brown butter makes everything just a little bit better. Which I why I came up with yet another recipe for brown butter cake!
By the way, what do you guys think of Christian Bale? Cute or not-so-cute? I can never decide. I tend towards cute-but-not-in-an-obvious-way-and-only-in-the-batman-movies… Does that make me superficial? I just like superheroes…
But back to these cupcakes. I’m so glad I came up with another brown butter cake recipe! Unlike this cake, which has quite a light structure, this cake recipe is more like a dense, buttery pound cake. Every crumb of these cupcakes has an intense, toasty brown butter flavor. And what goes better with brown butter than brown butter, right? So I topped these already insane brown butter cupcakes with a deliciously creamy, rich brown butter buttercream. See those dark specks in the buttercream? Those are all caramelized milk solids from the brown butter. No vanilla, just pure brown butter essence!
As you know, a traditional pound cake is called a pound cake because it’s made with a pound of butter, a pound of eggs, a pound of flour and a pound of sugar. I played around with the recipe a bit, adding milk, but the result is pretty much the same: a dense, buttery cake with a sturdy texture.
Whipping the batter up is easy, but you’ll first need to get yourself some brown butter. If you’ve never browned butter before, take a minute to read through my post on browning butter. It’s full of helpful tips and photos!
Not that browning butter is difficult, though…
By the way, it’s easier to brown the butter for the cake batter and the buttercream at the same time. Once you’re ready to make the cupcakes, you just divide it over two separate bowls.
Mixing the cake batter is easy! Just beat the brown butter until creamy, then mix in the sugar and mix until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then as you mix (turn the mixer off first!) to make sure all the ingredients are properly incorporated. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix half the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture. Add the liquid ingredients (the milk and vanilla) followed by the remaining flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pretty standard, right?
Once the cupcakes are in the oven, you can make the buttercream! This brown butter buttercream is actually a flour buttercream, which means that it’s made by first cooking up a flour based pudding. I’m planning on posting a tutorial on how to make the perfect flour buttercream somewhere these next weeks (all in the spirit of my new buttercream series of course!) but for now you can just check out my post on making buttercream with the ‘Beaten Butter’ method.
It’s a foolproof method and the result is amazing! Fluffy, creamy and delicious….
Now, back to Batman… See ya later alligator!
(Say what now?)
- 285g (or 1¼ cup) unsalted butter
- 140g (or ½ cup + 2 tablespoons) browned butter
- 170g (or ¾ cup + 5 teaspoons) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 170g (or 1⅓ cups + 2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 65ml (or ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon) milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 65g (or ½ cup + 1 teaspoon) all-purpose flour
- 200g (or 1 cup) granulated sugar
- 240ml (or 1 cup) milk
- pinch of salt
- 95g (or ⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) browned butter
- drop of vanilla extract
- Plop the butter in a heavy-bottomed and preferably light colored saucepan. The heavy bottom ensures the butter heats evenly, while the light color enables you to monitor the color of the butter as it browns. Heat the butter gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.
- Once the butter has melted completely, allow it to come to a rolling boil. As it boils, the butter will bubble and splatter dramatically, so you may want to place a splatter screen over the pan. Give the bubbling butter a good stir with a rubber spatula every now and then, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan.
- After 5-7 minutes, the bigger bubbles will disappear and the butter starts to foam. This is when it the milk solids in the butter will caramelize, so keep a close eye on the butter! You can tell the butter is browning because it will start to smell butty and toasty. Because of the foam, it may be difficult to determine whether the butter has browned enough to your liking, even if you are using a light colored pan. To check it, try clearing away some of the foam with a spoon or take the pan off the heat and use a soup ladle to pour a little of the butter in a clear glass. The milk solids in the butter (little dark specks) should have turned a dark golden brown.
- Once you’re happy with the caramelization, pour the butter in a heatproof bowl, scraping the milk solids into the bowl with the butter, and give it a good stir to cool the butter slightly and stop the caramelization process. If you were to leave the butter in the pan, the residual heat from the pan would continue to cook the butter, causing it to burn.
- Allow the butter to cool to room temperature, stirring it every now and then with a rubber spatula, then place it in the fridge until cold. Once cold, resoften the butter needed to make the cupcakes at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
- In a large bowl, beat the brown butter with an electric mixer until creamy and lightened in color. Add the sugar and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture looks fluffy. Make sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then.
- Once the mixture is fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well (about 2 minutes) after each addition. Again, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl every now and then.
- Once all the eggs have been added to the batter, combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine. Combine the milk and vanilla in another bowl.
- Add half the flour mixture to the batter and fold with a rubber spatula until somewhat incorporated. Mix with the mixer until the batter looks smooth.
- Add the milk mixture and mix with the mixer until combined and mixture looks smooth. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix well, 1-2 minutes, until the mixture looks smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then as you mix.
- Divide the batter evenly over the 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Whisk together flour and sugar in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk. Place saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously, then cook on low heat for 2 minutes, whisking continuously.
- Remove from heat and pour the pudding onto a clean heatproof plate or shallow container. Immediately cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly against the pudding's surface to keep a skin from forming.
- Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the cooled pudding one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until buttercream looks thick, smooth, and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. I used a piping bag and a large, closed star tip.
- Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving (this takes 1-2 hours).