A couple of years ago my husband and I took the Napa Valley Train for Valentine’s Day. It was really nice and the food was delicious. That night I chose to have Creme Brûlée for dessert and it did not disappoint because it was absolutely tasty. Since then, I like to make it at home. Last year I made a pumpkin flavor one and it was a hit.
But, you know me. I love cake, so I had to come up with this idea of cupcakes. These soft vanilla cupcakes are filled with a silky pastry cream. On the top we’ll sprinkle some granulated sugar that will be caramelized with a kitchen torch. The result is just like a Creme Brûlée in a mini cake.
Do not forget to check my Instagram @Pastry_Tales. I posted the video about how to make these cupcakes.
If you have any question about this recipe, you can send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org OR DM on Instagram.
Let’s start with the recipe.
Yield 1 dozen regular size cupcakes
For the pastry cream
1 and 1/2 cups milk (It’s better to use whole milk but I only use low-fat milk and it worked fine)
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cupcakes
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
More granulated sugar for the brûlée part.
*First of all you should make the pastry cream because you need it to cool off to room temperature first and then place it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. So, I recommend that you prepare the pastry cream first*
For the pastry cream
1.- In a small bowl we are going to mix 3 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch. Mix and set it aside.
2.- In a medium size saucepan mix the rest of the milk, sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat and using a whisk or a spatula mix really good until the sugar is dissolved.
3.- In a measurement cup whisk the egg and yolks. Add in the cornstarch mixture and whisk well.
4.- When the sugar mixture just begins to simmer, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk really fast, this is called tempering the eggs. Now, you are going to add this mixture little by little into the pan and whisk really good. Bring to a boil, then cook until thickened about 1 more minute. Don’t forget to keep stirring so you prevent burning the sides and bottom of the pan.
5.- Remove the pan from the heat, add in butter and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pass this mixture through a sieve so you can catch any leftover egg . You want this mixture to be silky with no lumps. Discard any leftover egg caught in the sieve. Let it cool completely, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
For the cupcakes
1.- Preheat oven to 350 F. Alsso, line one 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2.- In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. This is going to be your dry ingredients mixture.
3.- Mix your butter using a mixer for a couple of minutes. Then, add the granulated sugar and mix for another couple of minutes until fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, mix. In low speed. Add 1/3 of your dry mixture. Mix. Add half of the milk. Mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry mixture. Mix. Add the other half of milk. Mix. Add the last third of your dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
5.- Pour batter into the liners 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6.- Let the cupcakes cool off completely.
Now, it’s time to assemble the cupcakes…
1.- Using a small knife cut a wide cone from the top of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a good amount of pastry cream. you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to do this or just use a small spoon.
*If you are not going to serve your cupcakes at this point, please storage them in the fridge* Always use a container with a lid*
2.- When ready to serve, sprinkle a layer of white granulated sugar over the pastry cream and caramelize to a golden brown using a kitchen torch.
3.- Serve immediately. Enjoy!