So, I thought I was safe a few weeks ago when a friend was in town visiting and we decided to explore the neighborhood shops. We came across a fun little store with an eclectic inventory ranging from hanging wall art to Hello Kitty shower curtains to whoopee cushions. Harmless, right? Except that on the way out, I spotted it: the cupcake cookbook that would become my waistline's number one enemy (but my stomach's best friend).
The cupcake above caught my eye for several reason (can you even try to resist it's name?!) but it was the brown sugar glaze oozing down the sides of an oven-warm cupcake that did me in. Because this cupcake is unwrapped, put on a plate, drizzled with a glaze, and eaten with a fork, it's less of a traditional cupcake and more of a mini-cake. But I'm not complaining.
Sticky Fig Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans
This recipe makes 6 extra-large cupcakes. Pans for extra-large cupcakes have cups with a 1-cup capacity and usually have 6 cups per pan.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup dried figs, quartered (Calimyrna or Black Mission figs work equally well)
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Make the sauce:
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, cream, and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.
2) Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 6 extra-large muffin tin cups with large paper liners. Spray the inside of each liner lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
Put the water and figs in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; set aside to cool while you prepare the batter.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla, mixing until smooth and thick. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the figs, with any liquid that remains in the pan (there was a good amount of liquid left when I made this).
Fill each paper liner with 1/2 cup of batter, to about 1/2 inch below the top of the liner. Bake until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar sauce on top of each cupcake. Return the cupcakes to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack. Let cool completely.
3) Serve the cupcakes:
Warm the remaining brown sugar glaze over low heat. Remove the paper liners from the cupcakes and place each cupcake on a plate. Drizzle with glaze and a little bit of heavy cream.
4) Store the cupcakes:
The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
The sauce can be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Warm before baking the cupcakes.