Like Buttah: Burnt Butter and Brown Sugar Cupcakes!
Okay. I’m not certain I can convey in mere words how entirely delightful these cupcakes are. No. Really. I texted Cute Banker at work about it in the middle of the day. They are stop-your-day, harass-your-spouse-at-his-place-of-business good.
I confirmed this fact with Cute Banker, who, upon returning from a particularly challenging day at work (I have no idea why!), proclaimed them, “Friggin’ GOOD.”
Then, I ate one more, just to be sure.
Yes, it is certain: these are the best cupcakes, or cake of any kind, I have ever eaten.
As you can see, I had no trouble sampling them, from start to finish. I kept mixing and tasting, and scraping and tasting, and forgetting to take pictures of the completed steps.
You’ll definitely want to lick the beater.
I’ve been in a general baking frenzy, ever since I noticed that when my child of three years and ten months spends the first half hour upon waking from his nap helping me bake, he will play much more autonomously for the rest of the day. It’s a selfless investment of my time that has absolutely no benefit to me. (Ahem.)
Now, I’ve made some good things, as I work my way through Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. Like Gateau Breton. It’s buttery, it’s satisfying. It’s like a shortbread/pie crust/cookie. Perfect for a tea time nibble. It even has the affectionate nickname around here of “Ghetto Cake” since that’s pretty much what Cute Banker heard when first I pronounced “Gateau” in my impeccable French accent. But, I didn’t get all post-y about it and tell you all to run right out and make it. You’re busy and you only need to know about the truly great things.
Enter: Burnt-Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes. Remember how I told you brown butter is one of the most delectable, transformative things in life and you must, must make some? Okay. Imagine that nirvana, but now with sugar. There is brown butter in the batter and brown butter in the frosting. It’s insanely fantastic.
Nigella calls it Burnt Butter, but that’s just not appealing to me, so I want you to know it’s just brown butter by another name. It’s not really even super brown, much less burnt. It’s just dark golden, unctuous deliciousness. (But “Dark Golden Unctuous Delicious Butter and Brown Sugar Cupcakes” doesn’t really flow, so I can see where she’s coming from.)
The texture of the cupcakes is almost crackly, crispy on the outside and like a regular, moist cake, on the inside. I don’t know if this is because I didn’t have self-rising flour and substituted 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 /4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup of flour. If so, it was a very happy accident.
The frosting is velvety, smooth, and buttery (I guess using over a cup of butter will do that). Incidentally, I was also out of unsalted butter (see above-mentioned baking frenzy) so I used salted. I would do it this way again on purpose, because the salt really added wonderful contrast to the sweet. In fact, as much as I adore Nigella and aspire to be everything she is, I would substitute salted butter for most of her sweet baking recipes.
These aren’t one-step cupcakes, what with all the “burning” of butter and such. But when you’ve got an afternoon, and maybe one or two helpers, it is a wonderful way to spend some time.
As these luscious cakes bake in the oven, you will be transformed, too. As promised, when they emerge, all mouthwatering and inviting, you will feel every bit the Domestic Goddess. Brava, Nigella!
Want another delicious use for Burnt Butter icing? Click here!
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