burnt-sugar brown-butter cupcakes

procrastinating: getting ready for next semester

prep time: 40 minutes

cook time: ~25 minutes

cleanup time: 10 minutes

time spent procrastibaking: 75 minutes

hey procrastibakers! one week from today i’ll be back in the swing of classes and things– which means i’ll have lots more to procrastibake about! 🙂 i’m actually pretty excited– i’ve missed my friends from my program, and i’m looking forward to writing and teaching again. but with every new semester comes the inevitable barrage of chores: organizing, cleaning, reading, etc. i ripped out the pages of my planner to make it current after months of disuse; i wrote out my class schedule on fancy paper; and i decided to craft up this new recipe today.

this past weekend was wonderful for lots of reasons– one small reason being the burnt sugar and butter ice cream i got to try, which was freaking phenomenal, and the inspiration behind these cupcakes. burnt sugar and brown butter are sort of intimidating ingredients, just because they’re tricky to get right, but if you can do it, the flavors are deep and totally worth it. let’s give it a go!


  1. heavy saucepan/pot
  2. small pot
  3. 2 small bowls
  4. mixing bowl
  5. cupcake pan
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 1 cup boiling water
  8. 1 stick butter
  9. 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  10. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  11. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  12. 3/4 cup sugar
  13. 2 eggs

step one. preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and grease your cupcake tin and/or put liners in it. today i’m using paper cupcake liners 🙂

step two. pour the one cup of sugar in your heavy pan/pot and put on the stove under medium heat. the sugar will soon turn a tan, caramel color– stir carefully and occasionally until it’s all melted. in your small pot, separately boil the 1 cup of water. once the sugar is completely melted, take it off the heat.

step three. very, very, very carefully, pour the boiling water into the melted sugar. this can bubble up pretty mightily and if you’re not careful, you could get hurt– a good strategy is to pour the water along the side of the pan, to minimize splatter and potential for scalding. i’m serious, be super careful. boiling sugar HURTS. anyway, once the water has completely been poured into the pan, return it to a medium heat, until the sugar remelts and it’s a consistent syrup. once it’s a syrup, pour into one of your small bowls and allow it to reach room temperature.

step four. while that’s cooling, we’ll brown the butter. same sort of plan, put a stick of butter on medium heat on the stove top and allow it to not only completely melt, but to literally turn brown. i’ve poured my melted butter into a coffee mug so you can see how dark it gets. the froth thing is normal. also, there’ll be some sediment in your browned butter– you don’t have to remove it (it doesn’t really affect anything) but if you pour slowly, you can avoid a lot of it.

step five. in your mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and use a fork to stir together. then, take 1 cup of the burnt sugar syrup and pour it into your melted brown butter. stir until fully incorporated. pour your sugar/butter combo in your dry ingredients and stir. finally, break each egg into the mix, stirring between each egg. the batter should be a golden, almost-pumpkin color, and fairly thick. scoop the batter into each muffin tin almost to the top of the muffin paper, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned and springy.

step six. you can ice your cupcakes however you’d like– they’d be great with a cream cheese frosting or vanilla frosting! i still have some fondant from a few posts ago, so i thought i’d use that on my cupcakes. here’s a reminder how to ice with fondant: using crisco, oil your hands and the surface on which you’ll be rolling the fondant. roll it out to about 1/4 of an inch, and then using a cookie cutter (or a glass, like me!), cut the fondant to fit. i dipped mine in the burnt sugar syrup before placing it on the cupcake– it gives it a caramel sheen, as well as softening it so it drapes nicely.

these came out so well! try making it as a cake too– mmm!

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Hour Recipe, cupcakes

One response to “burnt-sugar brown-butter cupcakes

  1. liza

    must try to make these!!

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