Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
When I was planning the menu for Clara’s birthday party, there were a couple items that I knew we had to serve. One was the chicken and waffles I posted last week, and the other was these cupcakes. Though I toyed around with the idea of having a pancake bar, I decided on these because a) I knew they’d taste awesome and b) because they’re super fun.
The cupcake shop I worked at before Clara was born had a blueberry pancake cupcake that I loved (but seriously, I loved all the flavors there), and I knew I wanted to recreate it for the party. I mean, what’s brunch without some type of pancakes, right?
The base of these cupcakes is a vanilla cake studded with fresh blueberries. They’re topped with maple cream cheese frosting and then drizzled with maple caramel sauce, which is a nod to the maple syrup we love on pancakes. I’ve seen cupcakes like this frosted a number of different ways, but I chose the maple cream cheese because that’s how we made them at the shop I worked at and because, you know, it’s totally delicious. I had to stop myself from eating one of these for a pre-party breakfast.
- YIELD: 24-30 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2¾ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1¾ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
For the caramel:
¼ cup heavy cream
Pinch sea salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup
For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, chilled
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2½ teaspoons maple extract
To make the cupcakes, heat oven to 350º. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the butter and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and maple syrup. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in 2-3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the blueberries.
Divide the batter between the prepared liners, then bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the caramel. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and salt over medium heat until bubbles just begin to form around the edges. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture reaches 235-240ºF on a candy or infrared thermometer. Set aside to cool slightly (the caramel will thicken as it cools).
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and continue mixing for 2-3 minutes. Blend in the maple extract.
Frost the cupcakes as desired, then drizzle with the caramel sauce.