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Cupcakes + Sweet Mascarpone Frosting + Carmelized Figs!?!? Umm. Yep. Count me in. These are not only photographed beautiful (go Natalie) but they also look so absurdly delicious, I’m literally holding my hands down so that I don’t rush into the kitch and make them right now!

From Natalie…One of my favorite things about fall is using seasonal ingredients in new ways. These cupcakes are sweetened with local honey and topped with a light and creamy mascarpone frosting and a caramelized fig. Fall has never tasted so sweet!

HONEY CUPCAKES

1¼ c. cake flour
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. honey
½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c. sour cream
2/3 c. whole milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake tins with 16 liners, set aside.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter, honey, sour cream, vanilla extract and the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean. Beat for 1 minute.

4. Add one egg at a time, mixing after each addition. With mixing speed on low, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the milk. Beat until just combined.

5. Divide batter and fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full.

6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool in tins for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

YIELD: 16 CUPCAKES

MASCARPONE FROSTING

2 (8 oz.) containers mascarpone cheese
1 c. heavy whipping cream
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.

2. With mixing speed on low, begin to beat the mixture. Gradually turn the speed up until it reaches a medium-high speed. Beat mixture for 2-3 minutes until soft peaks begin to form (keep an eye on it while it is beating, you do not want the mixture to curdle).

3. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

CARAMELIZED FIGS

¼ c. granulated sugar
8 ripe and sweet figs, cut in half

Dip the cut side of each fig into the granulated sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize each fig (this will take approximately 1 minute). Place a cooled fig half on the top of each cupcake.

Click here for voting instructions!