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Friday 9 May 2014

Let Her Eat Cake: Crème Brûlée Cupcakes

Oh how we love crème brûlée here at DSHQ. And how we love cake! But what happens if we're confronted with a choice between the two? DEAR GOD WHY WOULD YOU MAKE US CHOOSE? Well don't panic, because we've put our dastardly cake hats* on to make sure that will never happen.

These cupcakes might look labour intensive, but really it's all pretty straightforward stuff. Stick on a good podcast and whip up some vanilla-y, cakey delight. Feel free to mess around with the flavours, too. These have raspberries and brandy in them because... I don't need a reason. Just because.

*now I want a cake hat. Perhaps Laura B will make me one.

Crème Brûlée Cupcakes (makes 12 large or 16 small)
Preparation time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes + 20-25 minutes
You will need:

For the custard:
  • 250ml double cream 
  • 1 vanilla pod 
  • 3 free-range egg yolks 
  • 50g caster sugar (plus a little extra for the top) 
For the cakes:
  • 200g butter, softened 
  • 200g caster sugar 
  • 3 free-range eggs 
  • 200g self-raising flour 
  • 2 tbsp brandy 
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Handful of raspberries 
Make it!
The custard:
  1. Preheat your oven to 150 C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2. 
  2. Tip the cream into a saucepan. 
  3. Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream. Chop the pod into a couple of pieces and throw that in there too. 
  4. Heat the cream gently until it is almost at boiling point. 
  5. Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and creamy. 
  6. When the cream is ready, pour it into the egg mixture slowly, whisking continuously as you go, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. 
  7. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a jug. Stir in the brandy. 
  8. Pour into a medium-sized flat dish, deep enough to sit in a roasting tray of water. The custard should be about an inch thick. 
  9. Place the dish in a deep roasting tray, then pour water around it until it is half-submerged in a bain-marie. 
  10. Bake the custard in the oven for around 35 minutes until it is set but still jiggles a little when you wobble the tray. 
  11. Remove from the water and leave until it is cool enough to put in the fridge. 
  12. Chill for at least one hour. 
The cakes:
  1. Turn the oven up to 180 F / 350 C / Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease 12 cupcake cases. 
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  3. Beat the eggs then add a little at a time, with a teaspoonful of flour to stop the mixture from splitting. 
  4. Stir in the vanilla and brandy. 
  5. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in gently with a metal spoon. 
  6. Fold in the raspberries. 
  7. Dollop into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full. 
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean. 
  9. Place on a wire rack to cool. 
  10. When the cupcakes are completely cool, take a sharp knife and cut a large, shallow inverted cone shape out of the top of the cake (to make room for the custard!)
To assemble:
  1. Remove your baked custard from the fridge. Carefully, spoon out a layer of custard into the indentations. 
  2. When you're done, sprinkle each layer of custard with 1 tsp caster sugar, then caramelize with a chef's blowtorch (you do really need one here) until the sugar is melted and browned. (Try not to burn the cases, oops).
  3. Wait a minute or two for the sugar to harden, then GO! CAKES INTO THE FACE. 

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