Spiced Cupcakes With Brown Butter Toffee Frosting

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When I set out in the kitchen, it was not my intention to make this. While on vacation, Goose and I stumbled upon this really amazing gem of a pub. Everything about it was in true English fashion, and it was there, in a small-ish suburb of Los Angeles, that I tasted my first sticky toffee pudding. Naturally, I’ve become obsessed.

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What made it so great was that instead of dates, which I’ve since learned are pretty much the defining ingredient in STP, it had apricots. Uh-Mazing. Especially since I have strong feeling that I’d be repulsed by dates. They look like cockroaches. Ugh.

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Anyway, STP has been on my mind for days and I’ve really wanted to make it, to be able to take to work and meetings and whatnot. But the problem is that it’s sticky (duh), and you want it served warm, and there’s runny cream involved – it’s not very portable.

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I’d intended to put all that sticky, creamy yumminess into a nice, neat, cupcake shaped package, but the longer I thought about it and fussed with it, the more I realized that it wasn’t happening.

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So I rolled with what I had and I’m pretty proud of the end result. I’d liken it to a spice cake, and the frosting is just so effing good. I literally ate it with a spoon.

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Here’s what you need:

For the cupcakes (3 large or 6 regular)

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup + 1 tablespoon flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
dash of coriander
dash of ground clove
2 eggs

For the frosting

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar
toffee chips (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line or grease your cupcake tin.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Mix in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, coriander, and ground clove.
  5. Fill your cupcake pan about halfway full, and put it into the oven for 20 minutes.

While your cupcakes bake, prepare your frosting.

  1. In a medium saucepan, brown your butter over medium-low heat. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done because it will bubble up, and when you move the foam to the side you’ll see little golden brown bits at the bottom, and it will smell somewhat nutty. Don’t leave it too long or it will burn.
  2. When your butter has browned, immediately add the brown sugar, cream, and salt and stir to combine.
  3. While your toffee sauce comes to a boil, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl.
  4. When the toffee sauce has come to a slow boil, set aside a few tablespoons to drizzle over your cupcakes, if you so desire, and transfer the rest to the bowl with the powdered sugar, and beat until combined. It should be stiff enough to pipe, but add more sugar and cream or milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Frost and top with the remaining toffee sauce and toffee chips.

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