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Burnt Butter Cupcakes – Random Recipes #40

Cupcakes | 11th June 2014 | By

Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Once upon a time, many years ago, I made Nigella’s burnt butter cupcakes using jaggery instead of the prescribed sugar. They have lived on in my memory ever since as one of the most delicious cakes I’ve eaten. The reason I haven’t made them subsequently is because on the rare occasion I visit an asian shop, I forget to look out for jaggery. Jaggery is one of the most natural and least harmful forms of sugar and is traditionally eaten on the Indian subcontinent. Natural cane juice is dehydrated and formed into blocks. It has a slightly fudgy texture and a unique caramel flavour. It is also high in minerals and has a much lower GI than refined sugar.

Random Recipes has reached the grand old age of 40 this month (months, not years), so Dom has ingeniously tasked us with finding our 40th recipe book and cooking whatever comes up on page 40. I can’t tell you how delighted I was when I got burnt butter cupcakes from Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Doubly delighted because I had recently come across some jaggery and bought it with the very intention of trying these cakes out once again.

Because I needed to get some chocolate into the bake and wanted to use jaggery, the recipe for the cake is somewhat adapted. The recipe for the icing is quite different. I was intrigued recently when I saw a recipe for old fashioned flour frosting over at Delightful Repast. This is a basic sweetened white sauce which is then whipped up with butter and uses a lot less sugar than buttercream. This was my chance to try it out using burnt butter of course.

This is how I made:

Burnt Butter & White Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a pan over moderate heat then allowed to bubble for a few minutes until the butter smelt nutty and flecks of brown appeared.
  • Sieved the butter to clarify it and take out the burnt solids.
  • Added 65g of jaggery and 25g of finely grated white chocolate (I used Mortimer’s white couverture powder). This allowed the chocolate to melt, the jaggery to soften and the butter to firm up. Left for about 10 minutes.
  • Creamed the butter, jaggery & chocolate together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 small eggs (1 duck egg or extra large would be fine) and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Sieved in 90g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred this in as gently as possible followed by 1 tbsp water.
  • Spooned into 6 cupcake cases and baked at 180℃ for 20 minutes.
  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a pan over moderate heat then allowed to bubble for a few minutes until the butter smelt nutty and flecks of brown appeared.
  • Sieved the butter to clarify it and take out the burnt solids. Left to cool and solidify.
  • Whisked 45g plain white flour in a pan with 100 ml of milk and a pinch of salt until there were no lumps.
  • Added 50g jaggery and cooked over a low heat whisking all the time until the mixture was very thick. Left to cool.
  • Creamed the butter until light then beat in the custard. I added some extra milk at this point as the mixture was too thick I thought. Beat until it had the consistency of whipped cream.
  • As it turned out, I’d added a little too much milk as my icing didn’t hold its nicely piped shape. Or perhaps my impatience got the better of me as it firmed up later – I live and learn!
Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Despite the disappointment of the shapeless icing, I was really pleased with its taste and mouthfeel. Smooth, creamy and quite delicious, it was not nearly as sweet as your average buttercream can be. I shall most certainly be trying this again. The cupcakes were nearly as good as I remembered them – time, like absence, tends to make the memory fonder.  The burnt butter worked a treat and they were rich, caramelly and delectable.

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