Recipe: Crème Brûlée Cupcakes

Today’s post is brought to you by Keely, a fellow Better Bloggers Network member and baker extraordinaire. I can’t wait to try these!

Hello, lovely Dragonflight Dreams readers! Thanks for having me here. I usually blog over at Hairbows and Butter. I’m a baker, a lover of food and beautiful things and I’m so happy to share a recipe with you!

I’m incredibly excited about today’s cupcake recipe. How many of you are lovers of crème brûlée but don’t love dealing with the trouble of making a custard, cooking it, cooling it and using a blow torch to “brûlée” the top? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Never fear, dear readers. This is a perfect “middle of the road” or “everyday” crème brûlée. A simple vanilla bean cupcake is topped with a light vanilla bean cream cheese frosting AND (wait for it) a delicious crunchy piece of caramelized sugar!

Oh my gosh, these are so good – and that’s not just me, all of my friends say so!

Are you ready to get your bake on? Cause I’m always ready, so let’s get going!

Caramelized Sugar


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. In a medium sauce pan, mix together the water and sugar. And stop there, drop your spoon! You do not want to stir this until we get to the finished, caramelized point.
  2. Cook the sugar on medium-high for 10-15 minutes. Do not stir (just have to remind you, it’s always my default to stir things) and keep an eye on it until the sugar turns a slight brown/caramel color. Don’t walk away, this could turn from perfect caramel to burned sugar in a flash!
  3. While the sugar is still cooking, cover a flat surface (I used the back of a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan) with parchment paper.
  4. When the sugar is done, remove it from the heat and using a wooden spoon scoop and drizzle the sugar all over the covered surface. Try and get as many pieces connected as possible and do your best to keep it thin! It should look something like this:
  5. Now just put that aside and let it harden.


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes


  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and put liners in two 12-cup muffin tins.
  2. In a medium sized bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) add the room temperature butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (a minute or two).
  3. Once well mixed, add the eggs in one at a time, mixing the first one in completely before adding the second.
  4. Add salt to taste (about 1/4 of a teaspoon).
  5. Take your vanilla bean and slice in half length wise (go slowly). Take the edge of your knife and scrape all the beans out of the inside.
  6. Add the beans and vanilla extract into the butter mixture and blend until well incorporated. Look at how awesome that looks, can you see the flecks of vanilla?
  7. In a medium bowl whisk together baking soda, baking powder and flour.
  8. Now it gets a smidge complicated, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorpoated. Then add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Follow this with the same system: add 1/3 of the flour and mix, then 1/2 of the sour cream and mix, and finally the last 1/3 of the flour and mix.
  9. Give the final batter one last mixture to make sure everything is incorporated. Also, make sure to scrape the sides of bowl and mix that in.
  10. The easiest way now to fill the muffin tins is to use a 2 ounce ice cream scoop. If you don’t have one then you can use two spoons and fill each cup about 2/3 full.
  11. Bake for 18 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool.


Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 blocks of cream cheese, 8-oz. each, room temperature
  • 1 stick ofbutter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean


  1. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer whip together the room temperature cream cheese and butter. Do this for about 2 minutes to make sure it is nice and light.
  2. Scrape the beans out of the half of the vanilla bean and add to the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Now slowly add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting has the consistency you are looking for (to be honest I don’t ever measure my powdered sugar, I do it by eye).
  4. Scrape the sides of the bowl and give it one last mix to make sure everything is incorporated.
  5. Fill a pastry bag with the complete frosting.
  6. Take a cooled cupcake and pipe the frosting on top (you can also use a knife to spread to frosting, I just find a pastry bag easier).
  7. Now, break up the cooled caramelized sugar into pieces that are about the size of the top of the cupcake (if you have smaller ones, you can use more than one piece on a cupcake). Place the sugar pieces on top of the frosted cupcakes.

Tada, you have made crème brûlée cupcakes! Don’t you feel fancy now? (Oh and P.S. your friends will think you are amazing!). Also, if you’re wondering what to do with those left over vanilla beans, try this out: take a jar and drop the beans in. Now pour some sugar on top, seal the lid tightly, and let it sit for a few weeks.

Now you have vanilla sugar! How great! Add some to some berries and oh wow yum!


1 comment