One of my favorite desserts in cupcake form, topped with a crunchy carmelized sugar layer. Decadently delicious, wickedly wonderful and deemed drool-worthy by family and friends alike. Now stop salivating and begin baking!
2Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
3Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately beat in dry ingredients and milk. Add caramel syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
4Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, but not dry. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
5Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.
6TO MAKE MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into mixing bowl. With mixer on high speed (using whisk attachment if you have a KitchenAid), beat egg white mixture until it forms stiff, but not dry, peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total.
7With mixer on medium-low speed (using paddle attachment if you have a KitchenAid), add butter, two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.
8TO ASSEMBLE CUPCAKES:
Remove center of cupcake by cutting out cone shape. Ovefill cupcake with buttercream so there is no apparent recess. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and caramelize with creme brulee torch. (If you don't have a creme brulee torch in your cooking arsenal, fear not! Place cupcakes under broiler, but only with constant supervision because they will brown quickly, and blackened, while popular in Cajun cuisine, wouldn't appear appealing atop these magnificent morsels.)