Crême Bruleé Cupcakes

 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

I’ve had this cupcake idea on the brain for years. Seriously. I mean it was possibly one of my first blog ideas when I started. I always knew it was something I wanted to try- but for the life of me I couldn’t conceive how to make it happen. Crême Bruleé has always been one of my favorite desserts, and it just seemed time for its creamy vanilla filling and crunchy burnt sugar topping to make it’s way into a cupcake.

 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

But inspiration never struck… so to the back burner the idea went. That is until a decent amount of delicious vanilla bean pastry cream was leftover from my recent macaron project, and I needed to figure out a way to use it.

I knew that pastry cream wouldn’t be exactly the same texture as the custard from my favorite French dessert, but it was worth a try right? I needed something that was sturdy enough to be filling and “frosting” on a cupcake, and my silky pastry cream seemed like just the thing.

 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

Well I have to admit I couldn’t be more pleased with how these turned out! The fluffy vanilla cake is the perfect base for the filling, and when I took my first bite and tapped the bruleéd top and watched it break, I knew I made something special.

Now you do need a kitchen torch for these, no broiler alternative unfortunately- but I really think it’s worth it. They are pretty cheap, small and I use mine all the time! What else can I brulée!?

PS- I had the most wonderful, educational experience at the King Arthur Flour Blog & Bake these last few days. I plan on sharing everything with you very soon!

 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

Crême Bruleé Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T buttermilk
  • For the Pastry Cream:
  • 1 pint whole milk (2 cups)
  • 6 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or a whole pod)
  • pinch of salt
  • *sugar for topping


    For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.
  3. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl- making sure there are no streaks of flour.
  4. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes- then take cupcakes out of the pan and cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
  5. For the Pastry Cream:
  6. In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in ¼ cup of the milk and set aside.
  7. Combine the rest of the milk with sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  8. Whisk eggs into the milk/cornstarch mixture until smooth.
  9. Temper the eggs by pouring 1/3 of the boiling milk into the egg mixture in a steady stream with one hand, while gently stirring with the other hand. When mixed together add the milk/eggs back to the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  10. Boil for one minute stirring constantly until mixture is thick, bubbly, and able to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  11. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
  12. Transfer to a cold container, press some plastic wrap directly on the cream and chill completely before using in the cupcakes.
  13. To assemble:
  14. Use a paring knife to make a cone shaped hole in the center of each cupcake. Use a spoon or piping bag to fill and frost each cupcake with pastry cream.
  15. Cupcakes can be chilled at this stage until right before serving, when ready- sprinkle the sugar generously over every inch of the pastry cream (more sugar than you think is needed to create that crispy layer.), use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until golden brown and melted.
  16. Serve immediately.


Cupcake Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Pastry Cream Recipe adapted from Cook'n with Class (My Paris cooking school.)

(The pastry cream can be made in advance and refrigerated up until you're ready to use it. If it seems stiff- loosen it by either running it through a food processor or using an immersion blender. (what I did.) It will be smooth and silky within seconds!)

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 Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick  Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick  Crême Bruleé Cupcakes via The Baker Chick


  1. This Is pretty genius, I know these must taste awesome due to my addiction to creme brulee…

  2. Great minds think alike! Creme brulee cupcakes have forever been on my to-bake list too, so I need to try these! I’ve been struggling with the logistics of it as well, but it looks like you nailed it :) Pinned!

  3. This is pretty much the most brilliant idea ever! How is it that I’ve never thought about this myself?! Creme Bruleè is one of my absolute favorite desserts and making it in cupcake-form…wow! The best combo ever!

    xo, Elisa

  4. Oh heavens. I think I need these in my life. Everyday.

  5. Marnely Rodriguez Murray says:

    Ok, the description of you biting into these and the combination of crunchy burnt sugar, creamy pastry cream, and fluffy cake!? I need some of these ASAP!

  6. This is such a fun idea Audra! I wouldn’t struggled with executing these, but yours look perfect :) Can’t wait to try ‘em!

  7. Um, yes.

  8. These cupcakes are brilliant! Not to mention, they are gorgeous to look at!

  9. Amazing! Can’t wait to try these – plus, I love any excuse to use my blow torch!

  10. I’ve bruleed the top of cupcakes before but this looks so much better!

  11. Audra, these look amazing! I love how such simple flavors can come together to make something so incredibly delicious. And, of course, any excuse to use the kitchen torch!

  12. Those look out of this world. And I actually own a kitchen torch! (that doesn’t get used nearly enough)

  13. Seriously I had to stop by and tell you that this idea is so genius! Who doesn’t love creme brulee but in the form of a cupcake is really incredible!

  14. These cupcakes are BRILLIANT! I love the bruleed top!

  15. Becca from cookie jar treats says:

    Wow, this is an ingenious idea. I would have never thought of making a creme brule type cake. It looks really delicious! :)

  16. I’ve been wanting to make these for ages as well! I found a recipe which was called creme brulee cupcakes, but they were not like this! I love how these have proper pastry cream inside. Have to make your cupcakes now, they’re way better than the other recipe I found!! :)

  17. Creme brûlée is definitely in my top three favorite desserts so this cupcake is definitely calling my name. I love the translation of this lovely dessert into cupcake form. Brilliant!

  18. GENIUS.

  19. These are so genius! Love them!

  20. I am shocked and amazed by you right now, Audra. I bow to you, Queen of the Cupcake.

  21. Oh my..yes please.. I can’t even think of any big girl words to say… Brilliant!!

  22. Is the 1.2 cup sugar a 1/2 cup? Can’t wait to try these!!

  23. I so want one of these. Two desserts in one is always a bonus in my book. Of course, that crunchy caramelized sugar doesn’t hurt.

  24. So cute and creative, Audra! These cupcakes could definitely make my weekend a happy one! Great recipe.

  25. OMG…this is something I must try. Your cupcakes looks so perfect, and I think using pastry cream is just perfect.

  26. These certainly look special. Creme brulee is my favorite dessert. These look spectacular!

  27. You are a genius and this is why you have a food blog! :)

  28. Audra these are fantastic! I am so happy I found your blog on Rachel Cooks blog! Looking forward to browsing your recipes!! :)

  29. These look amazing! I have a torch, just haven’t gotten any butane for it yet. Where do you get yours?

  30. VIckie Palmer says:

    I made these cupcakes, and while they tasted delish, the topping did not turn out as pretty as yours. How much sugar do I need to sprinkle on each cupcake top to get the creme brulee look and crack of the spoon?!

    • Hey Vickie- sorry if that was unclear in the recipe. You really need every bit of pastry cream to be covered in sugar in order for it to caramelize properly. I will edit the recipe to note that :)

  31. I love creme brulee, but it’s not very easy to transport. I love this idea. Brilliant. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  32. WOW! These look absolutely incredible and with the perfect about of crisp burnt sugar on top. I am glad you kept thinking them over since starting the blog, worked them out and shared them with us!

  33. YES. These look like the most perfect cupcake remix of creme brulee. I can’t wait to make these.

    P.S. It was nice to briefly meet you at food blog forum!

  34. Melissa Jones says:

    Yummmm! Thanks for the inspiration. I love creme brulee! Nothing trumps caramelized sugar!

  35. For the buttermilk, do you mean the liquid or the powder one?

  36. Right away I am going to do myy breakfast, afterward having my
    breakfast coming yet aggain to read further news.

  37. Made these this weekend for a friend’s birthday dinner and they turned out fabulous! Added some homemade raspberry sauce and a few fresh raspberries on the plate and they were perfect! Thanks for the great instructions!

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    web and on web I found this website as a best site for hottest

  39. Can this be made without a torch, maybe a broiler? I so how long, temperature, etc. thanks!

    • Hi Grace- I really don’t recommend it because broilers tend to burn things really quickly. I’d suggest getting a kitchen torch- they are cheap and so fun to use!

  40. Cupcakes came out wonderfully delicious but I think we struggled a bit with the pastry cream. It was our first ever attempt at making pastry cream so I kind of expected we’d have issues. Ours looks perfect but smells super eggy. We tempered and found no scramble in the mixture but I just know something must have went wrong. All in all, the cupcakes really came out great for our first attempt but need to figure out what may have caused the cream to be so eggy! Great recipe!

  41. Hi there! Awsome recepe!! Everyone at home loved it the first time but the second and third not so much, the pastry came out a little soft, is the “T” for the cornstarch for tablespoon? I used teaspoon and I’m thinking that was my mistake. Thanks!!

  42. Can these be made for a party and sit out? Will the crunchy top be ruined?

  43. Hi, what does the T for the buttermilk and cornstarch stand for? Also, how long can I keep the assembled cupcakes in room temperature?

  44. I was wowed by a wonderful creme brulee cupcake during a visit to a cafe (Molly’s Cupcakes) on Bleecker Street in NYC, last year. Your recipe looked like my chance to recreate this!! So far I just tried making the pastry creme and it turned out way too thick, I think. Just checking whether the 6 Tablespoons of corn starch might be a misprint. I will toss my solid ‘blob’ and try again with way less cornstarch.
    With a slight adjustment, I know I will be on the road to a heavenly creation!
    Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • That is what I used but you’re not the first person to mention the filling being too thick. I have made these 3x and it always works out well! If you have success with less please let me know your results and I will make a note.

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