Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kettle Corn Cupcakes

The Oscars are coming up in just over a week, and if you're going to a party, this would be a perfect treat to contribute!  Or make them for yourself and enjoy them at a party of one.  Or for any movie night... Really, any excuse will do.

After snacking on some kettle corn one day, I thought it might be an interesting flavor to try in a cupcake.  Well, it turned out to be an amazing flavor to try in a cupcake!  I've made them a few times now, and each time people tell me how tasty the salty-sweet flavor is.

Surprisingly, I didn't find an exact cupcake recipe already in existence.  I wasn't looking for caramel corn, or cupcakes topped with marshmallows made to look like popcorn.  But I found a cupcake recipe that worked well, and I played around with the frosting and toppings to find the perfect balance.

To top off this popcorn-y cupcake, I used a simple vanilla buttercream, sprinkled on some chunky sea salt, and then topped it off with some store-bought kettle corn.  (If I were hardcore, I would have made the kettle corn myself.  But alas, I am not.)   The chunky sea salt is what really ties it all together by adding the perfect amount of saltiness to the buttery, sweet cupcake.

A creative cupcake that is salty-sweet perfection - give this a try!  Your will thank you.

Kettle Corn Cupcakes
(from Little Ivy Cakes)
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup popcorn flour (use air-popped popcorn, and blend in a Vitamix until it's a flour)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp is best
1/4 cup pureed cream corn
2 eggs, room temp
2 egg whites, room temp
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until a pale color and majorly fluffified in your stand mixer (3 minutes?)  On a low speed, add purred creamed corn, vanilla extract, and eggs one at a time.

Alternate adding half the flour mixture, then half the milk mixture in two additions. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well but don't over beat.  Pour batter into cupcake liners a little more than three-fourths full.

Bake about 15 minutes until cupcakes are golden brown and when gently pressed with fingers, springs back.   Remove from oven, and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing them from the pans and transferring them to a cooling rack.

Vanilla Frosting - You can use your favorite recipe, but I used this vegan version just to try it out.
(from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 plain soy milk

Beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.  Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fluffy.  It seems like a long time, but it really makes a difference.  You'll see how fluffy it gets!

To finish
After piping or spreading some vanilla buttercream onto the cooled cupcake, sprinkle on some chunky sea salt.  Top with store-bought or homemade kettle corn.

Dig in, and enjoy!

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