Caramel Corn Miso Cupcakes

Last year I made some cupcakes with the Japanese snack cookie called  “Mushroom Mountain” (or “Kinoko No Yama”).  Today I present to you another cupcake design that pays homage to a favorite Japanese convenience store snack-aisle staple!

Tohato Caramel Corn is SO good.  It’s similar to Cracker Jacks and comes with peanuts, but has a better crunch that conventional caramel corn.  I bought it three times over the last month with the intention of making this recipe, and all three times I ended up eating the entire bag before I made it to cupcake production.  Pro tip: if you try this recipe, buy lots of back-up bags.

These caramel cupcakes are topped off with fluffy miso caramel buttercream frosting and a few crunchy pieces of the Tohato caramel corn mix.  Miso in a cupcake sounds weird, you say?  I promise, this ultra-umami masterpiece will have you salivating for more in no time.

I love to bring conventionally savory Japanese flavors into my pastry recipes.  Miso is perfect for amping up the nuance of an otherwise too-sweet dessert.  I also love to use sesame, kinako powder, sweet potato, and spicy yuzu kosho in my desserts.  Stay tuned for more umami action in the Hadley Go Lucky kitchen.

Scroll down for the recipe!

For the Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Do not overmix the batter.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.  Don’t melt the frosting with a warm cupcake!

For the Miso Caramel Sauce

(Makes 1 pint; you’ll have some left over for decorating.  From Food52.)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • tablespoons white miso

Instructions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and water. Without additional stirring, bring mixture to a boil.
  2. When sugar becomes a deep golden brown and wisps of smoke just start to form, remove pan from heat.
  3. Once off the heat, carefully pour in the cream, which will cause the caramel to bubble. Stir to combine.
  4. If the caramel seizes up and hardens with the addition of the cold cream, then put the pan back over low heat and stir until the caramel is liquid again. Whisk in the miso. Allow to cool before using as ingredient in the Caramel Miso Buttercream frosting.

For the Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup miso caramel sauce

Instructions:

  1. Whip butter in a stand mixer until lightly fluffy.
  2. Gradually incorporate all of the powdered sugar.
  3. Add the miso caramel sauce.  Mix until combined.

 

Cherry Chai Cupcakes

My latest collaboration with Dona Chai and Brins Jam & Marmalade resulted in these adorable cherry chai cupcakes.  A lightly flavored Dona chai cupcake is crowned with cherry chai buttercream from Brins (formerly named Stagg Jam & Marmalade).  Brins actually used Dona chai in their jam recipe, so this cupcake is a flavor match made in confectionery heaven!

The cherries on top remind me of the alluring ice cream sundaes at old time-y diners, such as the one on my old college campus in Chicago.  Sometimes the only thing that would motivate me to write a paper was a friend dragging me from the bookish danger zone of my dorm room to study at our diner with a sweet treat close at hand.  That cherry on top could make it or break it!

Dona is a Masala Chai tea concentrate.  If you mix equal parts with hot milk, you’ll have a wildly good chai tea latte on your hands.  With vibrant spices like green cardamom and black peppercorn shining through, Dona chai breathes sparkling life into baked goods.  I suggest drinking a chai latte as you munch on your cupcake batch!  Dona chai is brewed in Brooklyn, where the brand also concocts a golden latte concentrate made from turmeric.

While I was cozy at home eating cupcakes this weekend, I was excited to browse the upcoming lineup at New York’s Dessert Goals festival next week.  I’m excited to see their new space in Long Island City!  I won’t leave before grazing on some fluffy shaved ice at the Bonsai Kakigori stand or taking incessant photos of the push-pop cake creations at The Pop Cake Shop.  I think there are a few tickets left for the event, so skedaddle on over to their website as soon as possible!  And if you can’t make it, definitely, DEFINITELY mix up a batch of these gorgeously flavored cupcakes.

Scroll down for the recipe!

For the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dona chai concentrate
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs.
  3. Mix in the Dona chai concentrate.
  4. Fold in the flour and buttermilk, alternating between each, and mix until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and then mix into the batter.
  6. Distribute batter in cupcake holders until 3/4 full.  Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cups Cherry Chai Jam from Brins Jam & Marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter in an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar, sifted.
  3. Add cherry chai jam and vanilla.
  4. Beat until well combined.

Don’t forget the cherry on top!