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.

 

Earth Day Cupcakes

This past Thursday had me running around the flower market to prepare for a decorative arts exhibition at Sotheby’s; I was assisting with the styling.  If you haven’t been to New York’s flower district, let me paint a mental picture for you.  The sidewalks are crowded with little pots of blooms, succulents, and wayward branches, all jostling for room.  They seem to be crowding toward the edges of the sidewalk for the most coveted spots, away from the foot traffic of people on their beeline to work.

I love navigating this urban forest.  Another styling assistant friend shared that jobs at studios located in the flower district were a hassle, because it’s hard to wheel the grocery cart through the organic sprawl.  Yeah… I’m pretty sure my wide-eyed flower enthusiasm will wear off pretty quickly, but for now, I’m still enchanted.

So, surrounded by endless flora, it’s safe to say that I have spring and nature on my mind, just in time for Earth Day on Saturday!  In the next few weeks I’d like to go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom festival, and hop aboard New York’s floating garden (which happens to host pop-up events, FYI!).  Be sure to carve out some time to experience and lobby for the photosynthesizers in your life.

Here are some Earth Day Cupcakes, complete with tiny chocolate mushrooms!  The mushroom-shaped chocolate-biscuit combos are one of my favorite Japanese cookies.  There are also bamboo shoot shaped cookies if you want to go really wild for the holiday.  Chocolate tree stumps exist as well, but I suggest saving those for a different day, they might send the wrong message on Earth Day…

These mini cupcakes are matcha flavored and topped with luscious chocolate buttercream.  A sprinkling of matcha dust on top of each cupcake gives the illusion of moss growing on some undergrowth.  Happy Earth Day!