Friday, October 30, 2009

Pear Cupcakes With Caramel Frosting

This dessert was inspired by last Saturday's Cinnamon-Apple Cake. Basically, I used the same cake batter, replaced the vanilla with a little maple flavoring, and replaced the apples with pears. Then I baked the batter in muffin cups instead of a springform pan. The simple caramel frosting that tops them is totally easy! You start with brown sugar, instead of white sugar, so as soon as the butter melts, the mixture looks like caramel. This pairing is terrific and really tastes like fall. Enjoy!

Pear Cupcakes With Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring or 1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice or cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 pears, cored and chopped
Caramel Frosting

1. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended after each addition. Stir in maple flavoring.
2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in pears. Scoop batter into lightly greased muffin pans.
3. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Remove from oven, and cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
4. Spread caramel frosting on each cupcake.

Caramel Frosting:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. almond extract

1. Melt butter and brown sugar, whisking constantly, at medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in buttermilk. Return to heat, and bring to a boil.
2. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in powdered sugar and almond extract. Beat at medium speed until spreading consistency.

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