Wednesday, February 13, 2013

mini creme brulee cupcakes

Mini Creme Brulee Cupcakes via design. bake. run.

sometime last week i saw a creme brulee cupcake pinned on my pinterest feed. i've never attempted making creme brulee before because i couldn't be bothered to make the custard on the stovetop, then bake it in a hot water bath. but creme brulee as a filling in a cupcake? i thought, sure… why not. that must be a whole lot easier than making actual creme brulee! and i tell you, it was because making the custard is easy peasy. i've done a bunch of pastry cream before, this is just like it, minus an ingredient or two.

i have to say, these mini creme brulee cupcakes turned out fabulous and they taste so good! i didn't have a blow torch so i stuck these babies in the broiler for a minute (although next time i might try less, more like 45 seconds) to brown before serving. so yes, i don't have a blow torch currently, although i have a feeling i may be getting one very soon in the near future as the hubby did ask me if i had one and would i like one – haha! i told him, of course you know i don't have one and sure, i could use one so we can have more of these yummy custard desserts! blow torch or not, you can still make them!

below's the recipe should you want to make them. i modified my eggless vanilla recipe for these cupcakes with a little bit of brown sugar. i say the brown sugar really adds something extra to the cake, because the custard and cake together is just divine! try it, you won't be disappointed. happy baking (and eating)!

Mini Creme Brulee Cupcakes via design. bake. run.
yes, that's a lot of mini creme brulee cupcakes! but that's okay, because they are so good. :)

Mini Creme Brulee Cupcakes via design. bake. run.
i think this is my new favorite cupcake! a must-try, for sure.

creme brulee mini cupcakes


1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt
1 cup milk (if using buttermilk, skip vinegar)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

creme brulee:
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar


mini cupcakes:
  1. preheat oven to 350°f.
  2. combine milk and vinegar and stir to combine. set aside for 5 minutes. mixture will curdle. if using buttermilk, skip this.
  3. in a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. whisk sugar, oil, vanilla extract into curdled milk mixture (or buttermilk). make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. mix until relatively smooth.
  5. fill mini cupcake liners with a scant tablespoon of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full).
  6. bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  7. once cooled, core out the middle, enough to fill it with the creme brulee mixture. this step is important to do before moving on to the creme brulee mixture as you'll want to pour the mixture into the cupcakes as soon as it's complete.

creme brulee:
  1. beat egg yolks in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed (or you can use a hand mixer if you like, or do it by hand with a whisk or fork), 5 minutes or until thick and light yellow. gradually beat in sugar.
  2. heat cream in medium saucepan over medium heat until just hot to the touch. stir in vanilla.
  3. a little at a time, so the eggs do not curdle, stir half of the cream into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. then stir all the egg yolk and cream mixture into the remaining cream in the saucepan. cook, stirring continuously, over low heat, 5 to 8 minutes, until mixture thickens; do not boil.
  5. remove from heat and use immediately to fill your cored mini cupcakes.

  1. using a small spoon, spoon a generous portion of the custard to fill the cupcakes.
  2. let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before refrigerating. refrigerate the mini cupcakes at least 2 hours before serving.
  3. before serving, sprinkle with brown sugar and place under preheated oven broiler (45-60 seconds, no more than 60 seconds unless you really like burnt sugar). or if you have a blow torch, torch the top of the cupcakes to get it to brown (like shown in the pictures above).
  4. serve immediately. enjoy!

makes 36 mini creme brulee-filled cupcakes (or about 16 regular ones). happy baking and eating! :) oh, if you don't want to eat them all right away (although i don't know why you wouldn't because they're so good! hehe), you can keep them in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. anything after that, i'm not sure how good the cake or custard will be.


  1. Mmm, these look SO good! I've been wanting to try making creme brulee for a while and this seems like the perfect recipe. Thanks :)

    1. Yes! These are so good, you will not be disappointed. It's become one of my favorite new cupcakes. Let me know how yours turned out!

  2. I'm going to start working on a dairy free version asap! these look amazing!

    1. What a great idea! Please do let me know how the dairy-free version turn out. I think it would be fabulous to have an all dairy-free (vegan?!) version. You can even make it GF too with a flour substitute.

  3. So,I tried this to take to a party tonight... and the mixture has not thickened.... like at all :( I ended up taking it off the flame and straining it, then sticking it in the fridge, hoping that THEN it will thicken.. any suggestions? I followed the recipe exactly.

    1. Hi Claudia. I'm sorry that this recipe did not turn out for you. I'm assuming you're talking about the creme brulee mixture here. This creme brulee recipe is very similar to a custard sauce. I've made custard on a stovetop multiple times in the past and have had issues with it until I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. I didn't use the exact ingredients as the recipe requested, and especially for the ones that didn't include cornstarch. For example, instead of (whole) milk, I tried fat-free milk and oh boy was that a mistake. The mixture never thickened, the eggs curdled and it was a terrible mess. One thing I can suggest is adding cornstarch to your mix. A tablespoon should help thicken it up. Let me know if you've tried this again and how that turned out or if you've found other ways to improvise and make it work.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and trying the recipe. I'm really sorry it didn't work out. I hope it doesn't discourage you from making this recipe again (or any other ones on here) because it is really a great one.

  4. Silly question. The cupcake liners, are those specifically made for baking ? I've seen them for condiments but can't imagine you can bake in them too. Just curious. Thanks.

    1. hi deana. thanks for stopping by and no, your question is not silly. these cups are the exact condiment cups that you see. and yes, they can be used for baking. i've baked cupcakes in these many times over and they are great. the best part is you don't need cupcake tins. you can just put these cups straight on a flat baking sheet and place them in the oven. i hope that answers your question.

  5. Oh my! This looks delicious! I just got a kitchen torch a few weeks ago and have just put my third batch of creme brulee in the fridge for the night...


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