This is my second year entering the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest presented by Scoopalicious and the Cupcake Project. Although I originally planned to build my cupcake around scrumptious kiwi sorbet I created, my mind went in another direction once I created pear cupcakes, resulting in these cupcakes.
Caramel Pear Penuche Cupcakes
My quest for the perfect pear cupcake began after my friend came back from Italy talking about the wonderful pears served there. I love fresh pears and thought the sweetness of them would compliment a cupcake. These cupcakes are moist, rich with sweet tones and not overly dense.
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salted butter, softened1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs1 cup pear puree (baby food works well)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In small mixing bowl, combine baking soda, salt, baking powder and flour. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter together. Beat in applesauce, honey and eggs until smooth. Add pear puree, and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring until evenly mixed.
Fill cupcake liners or greased cupcake pans nearly full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tops spring back when touched lightly and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, and then remove from pans. Cool completely. Eat one while still warm as part of your quality control process. Makes 18 cupcakes (although you'll end up with 17 after the quality control check).
I recently began making my own ice cream and sorbet, so this was a perfect excuse to try the Salted Caramel Ice Cream recipe I had been contemplating. This is a deliciously rich ice cream that highlights the brown sugar, honey and pear in the cupcakes.
Once cupcakes are completely cool, remove tops of cupcakes with sharp knife. Be careful to keep tops intact.Spoon one to two tablespoons of slightly softened ice cream onto each cupcake. Then press the cupcake top back on the cupcake to seal in the ice cream. I tried cutting cupcakes in half completely and removing portions of the tops. I'm still not sure which I like best, so I'll continue to experiment. I found it helpful to put the cupcakes in the freezer at this point to let the ice cream freeze solid before I attempted to frost the cupcakes.
The frosting I used is a plain variation of a cinnamon penuche. Don't mistake the word plain for bland. This is a rich flavorful frosting.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
In saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and cinnamon, and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If it is too thick, add a little hot water to soften it.
Spread frosting on top of each cupcake, sealing in ice cream if possible. Top each cupcake with 3 to 5 sea salt crystals. Enjoy!