Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Yield: 15 regular or ~48 mini cupcakes
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Salted Caramel Frosting:
Salted Caramel Sauce (see caramel recipes)
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
- To make the brown butter pumpkin cupcakes preheat your oven to 325º F. Line muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, skim foam from top.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, and brown butter. Add the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, start checking at about 20 minutes for regular sized or ~12 minutes for minis. Transfer pans to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before removing cupcakes.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the salted caramel frosting. Start by getting your ingredients ready, when you start you have to pay close attention so you don’t burn the caramel. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking it. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking as it continues to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking and simply swirl the pan to move the sugar around.
Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Watch the pan very closely, this is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350º F (if you are new to making caramel, you’ll want a thermometer).
As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter (it will bubble up). Whisk until butter is melted. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. The caramel will bubble up a lot as you add the cream so make sure you add it slow. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel or sea salt flakes.
Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large jar and cool to room temperature. Reserve 1/2 cup (plus more to drizzle if you wish) for the icing and store the rest in the refrigerator (it will keep for about a month).
Now it’s time to make the frosting. Start by beating the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add the salted caramel sauce. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed (about 2 minutes).
Frost the cooled pumpkin cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting and and drizzle cupcakes with extra salted caramel sauce, if desired..