Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brown Butter/Cream Cheese topped Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot cake is a classic favorite, yet because of the spices used I have always reserved it for the fall or winter time.  However, when I saw this particular recipe, I had no reservations to delay it until fall. Between the addition of the browned butter to the frosting and the use of curry in the batter, I would have to say this far from your grandma's recipe for carrot cupcakes.  As a food blogger, I try to go beyond the traditional and strive for something new and different.   After all, there is a reason for 31 flavors of ice cream-it would be a sad thing to just have a choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry!

This recipe makes 1 dozen cupcakes and be sure to plan for the 8 hours of chilling time for the batter.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Topped Carrot Cupcakes
adapted from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

8 egg whites (room temp)
1 3/4 stick or 14 tbs of butter
1 cup finely shredded carrot
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp curry powder
3/4 cup cake flour
1 cup almond flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

Ingredients/Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted after measuring)
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter
1 lb of cream cheese (softened)
2 tsp vanilla extract
sparkling or crystal white sugar (optional)

To make the cupcakes, melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat.  Once melted, increase heat to medium and let cook, stirring periodically.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the butter turns a golden brown.  Remove and pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and almond flour.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, sift the cake flour, spices (cinnamon, ginger, curry) salt and baking powder together.  Then add this to the brown sugar/almond flour mixture and stir until is evenly distributed.

Pour in the egg whites and blend with a wooden spoon.  Once blended, measure out approx one fourth of the batter and add it to the cooled brown butter.  Whisk together until smooth.  Pour the batter/brown butter mixture back into the original batter and mix together. Lastly, fold in the shredded carrot.

Cover and refrigerate batter for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Once the batter has been completely chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the top edge of the muffin cavities and line with cupcake liners.

Fill the cavities with the batter, using a bit less than 1/2 cup of batter per cavity.  Place pan in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  Cupcakes should be done and golden brown on top in about 25 to 28 minutes. Remove when done and let pan rest on wire rack to cool.  Remove cupcakes once cool and let sit on wire rack until ready to frost.

For the frosting, brown the butter in same manner as stated in the cupcake recipe.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together all the other ingredients except the sparkling white sugar.  It should take about 2 minutes on medium high for all ingredients to be blended.  Then turn down the mixer to medium low speed and continue to beat while pouring a steady slow stream of the brown butter.  Once all the brown butter has been added, beat for 30 seconds and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat for another 30 seconds.  Then the frosting is ready to use.

Frost the cupcakes as desired.  Also, the recipe suggests turning the cupcakes upside down and rolling the frosted top in a bowl of crystal sugar.

Tips and Notes:
1. Just under 1/2 cup of batter almost fills the cupcake cavity to the top, but this is ok because the cupcakes do not rise very much.
2. Room temperature is important when it comes to the eggs and brown butter, your mixtures will blend together easier and better.
3. The amount of salt may seem like a lot for the frosting but that is what gives it the salty sweet flavor combo. However if you are using table salt and not kosher only use half the amount stated.
4. Due to the crystal sugar topping, I wanted a stiffer frosting to work with so I let it chill for about 20 minutes before frosting.
                                    **LAST YEAR: Apple Butterscotch Bundt Cake**