Monday, February 13, 2012

Brown Butter Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

cupcakes, coffee, buttercream, brown butter

Butter makes everything better.  Agreed?  I thought so.

So what about brown butter?  Brown butter could be considered doubly better than regular butter (in my mind).  I think that means that brown butter makes everything doubly better.

Especially on birthdays.  Especially for breakfast on birthdays.  Which is exactly what these were.  Birthday breakfast cupcakes with brown butter.  Nothing in the world is wrong with brown butter cupcakes for breakfast on your birthday.

I mean, tell me you don’t agree…

I might not have eaten cupcakes for breakfast on my birthday but my body has recently decided that sleep is not so important.  I woke up around 3:30 the morning of my birthday and then I never went back to sleep.

I finally got out of bed at 6:30 or so and baked up the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.  The coffee in the buttercream sent these already-awesome cupcakes over-the-top.  Except if you don’t like coffee, then the buttercream might not be your thing.  Add rum instead.  Still, over-the-top.  Yes?

PrintPrint Recipe

Brown Butter Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes

Total Time: 2-3 hours, including time to cool and ice cupcakes

Moist and nutty cake with a hint of cinnamon, topped with rich, fluffy coffee frosting.


for the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 Tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
4 Tbs. butter, room temperature
4 Tbs. brown butter, room temperature (see Cassie's notes below)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

for the buttercream:
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. milk


for the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, measure flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and whisk together until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter with the granulated sugar and cream until combined. With the mixer on low speed, stream in the brown butter and mix until combined. Increase the speed and allow it to mix for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is free of fat streaks. The mixture will be fluffy and a light brown color.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, in three increments and mix just until combined.

Pour into prepared muffin pans. If you prefer to bake as a cake, double the recipe and pour into two 9-inch round pans or one 9x13 cake pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing the cupcakes.

for the buttercream:
Mix instant coffee, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and mash until it resembles sand. If you have a mortar and pestle, it will work great here.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the butter until smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar slowly until incorporated. Add the vanilla and coffee/cinnamon mixture and combine. Stream in 2 tablespoons of milk and mix well.

If you need a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar here. If it needs thinned out a little, add more milk.

Cassie's notes:
To brown butter: place butter pieces in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. The butter will bubble up. Stir very frequently. The color will begin to change and you'll see some brown flakes on the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until the butter has a nutty fragrance and is golden brown. The whole process will take 5-7 minutes. Be patient!

Cake adapted from Always with Butter; Buttercream is an original recipe


48 Responses to “Brown Butter Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream”

  1. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — February 13, 2012 @ 6:19 am

    These are SO breakfast food, and I want now. Like right now.

  2. #
    Kathryn — February 13, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    I think it should be mandatory to have cupcakes for breakfast. Especially when they involve brown butter. Yum!

  3. #
    Baker Street — February 13, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    Coffee buttercream! Mmmm… Sounds divine.

  4. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — February 13, 2012 @ 7:11 am

    This looks amazing!!! This is right up my alley because it’s got COFFEE in it and I love anything with coffee!! Beautiful cupcakes too, Cassie 🙂 I’m in love!

  5. #
    Blog is the New Black — February 13, 2012 @ 7:17 am


  6. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — February 13, 2012 @ 7:23 am

    Butter does indeed make everything better! Especially for a birthday breakfast. Hope you had an amazing day Cassie!!

  7. #
    leslie — February 13, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    Yes, I adore browned butter!!! I bet these were fabulous!

  8. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — February 13, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    These look incredible! Your pictures are fabulous! I have a weakness for cupcakes and brown butter so I definitely need to try these!

  9. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — February 13, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    Yes, please! Butter makes everything better…especially on your birthday! 😀 I hope it was a great one!

  10. #
    elizabeth @ chronic venture — February 13, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    yum yum yummmm! Cassie, these look so great!

  11. #
    amy @ fearlesshomemaker — February 13, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    these look awesome, cassie! hope you had an absolutely wonderful birthday!

  12. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — February 13, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    I could just dive into that coffee buttercream and never leave!

  13. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — February 13, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    These cupcakes look incredible! Breakfast?

  14. #
    Krissy's Creations — February 13, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    Brown Butter is amazing! These look incredible. I wish that bite in your pictures was mine 🙂

  15. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 13, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Lovely cupcakes, Cassie, and I love the flavors you used. There’s nothing better than brown butter and nothing more interesting to me than coffee buttercream! Must. try.

  16. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — February 13, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    these sound amazing!! heck yes brown butter makes everything doubly better! plus coffee buttercream = the best cupcake ever! i’m totally making these soon! 🙂

  17. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — February 13, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    Wow. I officially know what I will be eating for breakfast on my birthday. For the rest of my life!

  18. #
    Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — February 13, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    I love the alliteration on these! Bake brown butter birthday cupcakes. 😉

  19. #
    Ramona — February 13, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    Happy Birthday to you!!! If you can’t have all the best treats on your birthday, when can you have them? I think these rock! Hope you had a great day and even better year ahead. ~ Ramona

  20. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — February 13, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    Oh my, Cassie! I love any excuse to have cupcakes for breakfast! I think my favorite part about these is the coffee buttercream!! *swoon*

  21. #
    Cat Davis — February 13, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    I’ve never had a cupcake like this before but you had me at coffee buttercream. I must, must, must make these. Soon. Maybe tonight. lol

  22. #
    Paula B. — February 13, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    Oh my, coffee buttercream would be my thing. These look scrumptious and the pictures are yummy too. And a very Happy Birthday to you!

  23. #
    Chels R — February 13, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    Oh WOW!!!! Will you be my Valentine and bring over this cupcake 😉

  24. #
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction — February 13, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    I love brown butter and I love coffee. Match made in heaven? I think so!

  25. #
    Baking Serendipity — February 13, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Happy Birthday! This is such an awesome celebration cake 🙂 I love splurging on dessert for breakfast (it’s a birthday tradition in my house too!) and brown butter cake sounds like the best way to start a new year. Enjoy your day, girl!

  26. #
    hannah @ bake five — February 13, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    oh dear u got me craving for these badly

  27. #
    Catherine — February 13, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

    Ahh! This sounds like heaven to me!

    (Click here to enter my anthropologie kitchen tools giveaway.)

  28. #
    Anna — February 14, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    Um, totally breakfast. Except I’d be in the rum camp since I don’t like coffee…can I still eat them for breakfast? 🙂

  29. #
    myfudo — February 14, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Aside from the brown butter, the coffeebutter cream is a real bonus. These cuppycakes looks really delicious!

  30. #
    Alyssa — February 14, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    I would just eat that buttercream by itself with a spoon! Also, I’ve noticed you aren’t really doing Foodbuzz anymore. It’s great that you’re one of Blogher’s publishers but I realized that’s why I’ve been missing so many of your posts. I’ll do better to say up to date with you, as I absolutely love your blog!

  31. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 14, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    I have no idea what to say. Brown butter cupcakes… coffee buttercream. I love it all Cassie!

  32. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 14, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    I have no idea what to say. Brown butter cupcakes… coffee buttercream. I love it all!

  33. #
    Ann — February 14, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    These look fantastic….brown butter IS better! Happy Birthday, my friend and many happy returns!

  34. #
    Amy (Savory Moments) — February 14, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Brown butter and coffee in a cupcake?? Oh my. Looks fabulous!

  35. #
    Jill | Dulce Dough — February 15, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    What a great start to a birthday Cassie! Hope you had a great day, but how could you not when it started with these cupcakes? Yummy!

  36. #
    Liz — February 15, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    Oh, how marvelous! Brown butter makes everything taste better! I need to try these gems 🙂 Perfect birthday cupcakes~

  37. #
    Ryan — February 16, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    Wow, brown butter AND coffee buttercream? I’m swooning over these!! They sound (and look) glorious! I’m so making these!!

  38. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 16, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    I’ve never had brown butter anything but this combination sounds perfect. I especially love the frosting – yum!

  39. #
    katie — February 16, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    WOW–these look and sound amazing. I’m all for the coffee buttercream. Never thought to mix the two together… brilliant!

  40. #
    My Inner Chick — February 16, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    —all I can say is these look Out. Of. This. World. WOW. x

  41. #
    Nami | Just One Cookbook — February 16, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

    Hope you had an amazing Day Cassie! I’ve never had brown butter but reading your story make me want to try having these delicious looking cupcakes.

  42. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — February 16, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    Oh Momma! You had me at coffee butter cream.

  43. #
    DessertForTwo — February 17, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Ok, I absolutely need to make these now. Happy Friday to you 🙂

  44. #
    Meghan — February 18, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    I’m all about the butter, especially brown butter! Combine that with coffee, and it’s even better! Have a great weekend!

  45. #
    Audra@The-Baker-Chick — February 18, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Happy Birthday Darlin! These cupcakes indeed look amazing. Lots of browned butter in your house these days huh? 🙂

  46. #
    Carolyn — February 24, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    How did I miss these earlier, Cassie? They look amazing. Happy belated birthday!


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