Chocolate Browned Butter Cupcakes

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This week we welcome guest blogger, Christina Lane. Christina is the founder of the popular blog Her food writing and photography have been featured on popular websites including The Kitchn, Tasty Kitchen, Babble, Fine Cooking, Serious Eats, and the Huffington Post. A Texan by birth, Lane’s desserts are a unique blend of Southern, Californian and Midwestern influences. She bakes and eats dessert daily.

If I’m going to celebrate something special, I’m going to start by grabbing some butter. I’ll leave it on the counter to soften while I decide its destiny: will it be used for cookies? A cake? Buttercream? There are so many delicious ways two sticks of butter can turn into something that becomes the center of a celebration.

For this particular celebration, I decided to brown the butter.

As I was browning it on the stove, I still hadn’t decided what I was going to do with it! I just knew that I needed a dessert that used browned butter in some way.

The next thing I decided on was that this dessert had to have chocolate in it. So, we were dealing with some kind of chocolate, brown butter, dream situation.

Since I had quite a few people to feed, I quickly decided on cupcakes.

I make quick use of two sticks of Kerrygold butter for the frosting. I actually browned the butter, and then refrigerated it for about an hour, so that it was semi-solid again. When it was time to make the buttercream, it went into the bottom of a stand mixer, brown bits and all. If you have some black bits, I do recommend discarding those, but for the most part, all the brown bits are where the flavor is!

This recipe makes slightly more than 2 dozen cupcakes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sally McKenney

Chocolate Cupcakes Header2

Chocolate Browned Butter Cupcakes
Prep:  30 Minutes
Cook:  18 Minutes

For the buttercream:

2 sticks Kerrygold unsalted butter

1 pound powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

brown sprinkles, for decorating


For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup neutral oil (like canola or vegetable oil)

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk


First, preheat the oven to 350F, and line two muffin pans with 28 cupcake liners (you might get slightly less than 28!)

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir lightly to combine. Add half of the buttermilk and stir again. Repeat, finishing with the buttermilk.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and fill them only 1/2-way full.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes. Open the oven, test with a toothpick to see if they’re done. If not, return to the oven for 2 minute increments until done.

Remove from the oven, and let cool.

While the cupcakes cool, brown the butter: melt it in a light-colored skillet (it’s hard to monitor the ‘browness’ of the butter if the pan is dark). Let the butter sizzle over medium-low heat—it will sputter at first (this is the water leaving the butter), and then pay close attention as the sputtering stops. Tilt the pan to gently swirl it, and monitor the formation of brown bits on the bottom. Remove the pan from the heat when the butter liquids are a light golden brown and brown bits are forming. Pour into a bowl, and refrigerate for one hour to semi-solidify.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the buttercream! Place the butter in the bottom of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (discarding any black bits but adding the brown bits!). Turn the mixer to medium and whip the butter. Slowly begin to add the powdered sugar. About half-way through, splash in some cream to get it going. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and cream. After beating for a few minutes, stir in the vanilla and salt. Give it a taste and add more salt to make the flavors pop—it should really taste amazing. If it tastes flat, it needs more salt, trust me on this! Also, add additional cream to make the buttercream soft and fluffy.

You can decorate the cupcakes simply with a knife, or scrape it into pastry bag fitted with a pretty 1M Wilton tip. Pipe each cupcake with a rose shape (start in center and make a circle will gently pulling up). Decorate with sprinkles and serve.