Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Two years ago, I gave birth to my last little baby, my little manny, Brecken.  I love how he completes our family and how he keeps us all hoppin'.  He is so different from the other two, much ornerier and sillier.  (Ok, is it just me, or do those two words just look weird when typed out??)


What a blessing my little Brecken is to me....he will be IS the child that will test me and try me in ways that the other two would never think of, yet he is as charming as a cupcake.  Charming, I'm telling you.  Those big blue eyes and silly grin melt my heart every time.

So, Happy Birthday, little Brecken!  I hope that you enjoy your cupcake birthday!  These cupcakes were perfectly moist and the flavor combination was amazing!

{Sharing the Birthday Love over at This Chick Cooks!}

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream
Cupcakes from The New Best Recipe from America's Test Kitchen
Frosting from Gimme Some Oven

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp. almond extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, vanilla, and almond; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Caramel Buttercream

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a whisk until completely smooth.  The mixture will bubble up and splatter a bit as you add in the cream.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
Beat 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 caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).

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