Vanilla Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This was a recipe I adapted a bit from something I saw on Dessert First. I made them for an event at church at the request of my husband…since he asked  for it, I decided to  make something that he might actually enjoy.

The cake part is actually a browned butter vanilla bean cake – fancy-schmancy, no? It doesn’t get much more gourmet sounding than that. So we start with vanilla beans…and scrape out the seeds.

Dump the seeds and the pod into a frying pan full o’ butter. It’s beautiful.

While the butter is browning, mix the dry ingredients.

Mix the browned butter/vanilla bean mixture, the dry stuff and some eggs in the mixer. Whee!

Batter gets portioned into cups…yadda yadda yadda…bake in the oven…yadda yadda yadda…while the cupcakes are baking, I got a little overly ambitious and decided to play with spun sugar.

Of course, I went against every single piece of advice in making caramel and did all of this on one of the most humid days of the year. Thus the large chunky caramel pieces I ended up using.

I made a lovely batch of caramel and mixed it in to a batch of  my trusty swiss-meringue buttercream…swirled it on the cupcakes, and voila!

I was totally enthralled with the way the frosting turned out, but wasn’t too thrilled with the cake. I could not discern the browned butter flavor, and the cake was a bit on the dense side for me, but an otherwise not too shabby cake!

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