Happy Birthday Sous Chef Lauren [brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream]

They’re quite alliterative, really.

But more importantly, it’s Sous Chef Lauren’s birthdayyyyyyyy!!!!!

scl and me.

(Oprah voice.  You could probably tell.)

Well, it was Sous Chef Lauren’s birthday.  On Saturday.

me and scl.

And much like the way we became friends, which was because I told her we were going to be, I invited myself to her birthday party.  It involved a chef coming over and teaching us to cook a four course meal.  With a wine for each course.  And a lot of cheese.  It was everything.

cooking lesson.

I also told her I’d be making cupcakes.  Because I always make them for my coworkers, and it doesn’t seem right that SCL never gets in on any of that.

She asked for something with cream cheese frosting and I….

brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream.

Didn’t make that.  I made brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream.  Whoops.  I was limited by the combination of my pantry and the 5.5 inches of snow falling on the ground.  I wasn’t going to the store, so I had to work with what I had.  And what I had were the ingredients for brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream.

If I had a pound of bacon during the snowstorm, I would have friend it up and plopped a giant piece on top of each of these.  But as it were, I didn’t.  Next time.

To make brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream, you will need:

For the cupcakes:

1 3/4 C cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C milk, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C + 2 T sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt one stick (1/2 cup or 113 grams) of butter, stirring constantly until it begins to foam. Continue to cook and stir until the foam subsides and milk solids begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan and turn down the heat if things start to get too toasty. When the butter has deepened in color and smells wonderfully nutty, turn off the heat and pour the butter into a small freezer-safe bowl. You should have about 1/3 cup or 90 grams of brown butter. Freeze for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the butter start to solidify. I set a timer so I wouldn’t forget about it hanging out in the freezer! Also just in case – a visual tutorial on how to brown butter.

While the butter is chilling, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a liquid measuring cup stir together milk, vanilla extract and the vanilla seeds. Set both aside.

Beat the remaining stick of butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the chilled brown butter, being sure to scrape the bowl so all the toasty bits of flavor that tend to settle to the bottom are included, and beat until incorporated. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients and the vanilla/milk mixture in three alternating additions, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as necessary. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and carefully but firmly tap each pan on your counter top. This makes sure that there are as few air bubbles as possible as the cake bakes.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When your cake is fully cooled, frost with one batch of bourbon buttercream (recipe below).

For the bourbon buttercream:

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 C powdered sugar
1 T bourbon
1/4 tsp. salt
splash of vanilla

Beat butter in a large bowl until light and creamy, about two minutes. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the bourbon, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth and spreadable, or about one minute more.

One thought on “Happy Birthday Sous Chef Lauren [brown butter cupcakes with bourbon buttercream]

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