Browned Butter Cupcakes with Mascarpone-Cream Cheese Frosting
As a follow-up to my last post, I wanted to share the other batch of cupcakes I made for Landon’s baptism. Lately, I’ve done a lot of experiments using browned butter: Browned Butter Fruit Upside-Down Cake, Browned Butter Yogurt Cake, and Browned Butter Golden Cupcakes.
In the cupcake arena, I’ve been substituting regular unsalted butter with browned butter to my tried-and-tested cupcake recipes. I brown regular butter in a medium saucepan and let it melt and slightly bubble up until golden brown in color. In some recipes, I use up all the browned butter including the slightly burned milk solids. In certain recipes, these milk solids can be strained before letting the butter solidify again.
In Nigella Lawson‘s How To Be A Domestic Goddess, she has a beautiful chapter on cupcakes, or what she calls Fairy Cakes. Her cupcakes are NORMAL-sized dressed with royal icing, which I kinda like, not the gargantuan cupcakes we are accustomed to seeing in bakeries. Don’t get me wrong, I love jumbo cupcakes mounted with almost a full cup of frosting too. I mean who can resist delicious frosting atop a moist cupcake. Anyway, Nigella had a recipe for Burnt-Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes which she makes in a food processor. I made the cupcakes with slight adaptation using my beat-up yet very reliable Kitchen-Aid mixer.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Burnt-Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes on How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I changed the method of making the cupcakes and I paired it with a light Mascarpone-Cream Cheese Frosting instead of Nigella’s version of topping the cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare one standard-sized muffin pan and line with cupcake liners. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and brown over medium heat until dark golden in color. Stir often while browning.
2. Take the pan off the heat and strain the browned butter into a small container to remove milk solids. Let the butter solidify slightly. You want room-temperature or softened butter consistency for creaming – not too firm, not too runny. Meanwhile, sift the cake flour and baking powder into a medium bowl (or if you are like me, I sift it over parchment paper).
3. When the butter is ready, cream it with the two sugars in an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well before each addition. Scrape down bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla extract and combine.
4. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk into the creamed butter, making sure to start and end with the flour. Do not overmix, just beat to combine or finish mixing by hand with a spatula (I prefer to finish mixing by hand to make sure that the batter is not overmixed).
5. Divide batter equally among the paper cups. It may look like you don’t have enough batter, but just try to properly divide and use up all the batter you have in the bowl. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Check during the twelfth minute or so of baking. Since the batter is very little, you want to make sure you don’t overbake these cupcakes either. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mascarpone-Cream Cheese Frosting
Don’t expect this frosting to be uber-sweet and rich. This is very light (like whipped cream) and not overwhelmingly sweet. Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes.
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (increase to 6 ounces if you want more cream cheese flavor)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Beat room temperature mascarpone cheese and cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed. Add in confectioners’ sugar gradually.
2. Add the heavy cream and beat until combined and cream gets incorporated, no more than one minute. You are beating the cream in for about 30 seconds to a minute to give it time to form into soft peaks within the mixture.
3. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag to pipe on top of cupcakes or use an offset spatula to spread frosting on top of cupcakes.