Feb 27 and cupcakes qualify as dinner

This is the week where I take the Sunday no reEATS duty and that means that I have to cook something on Sunday night or I have nothing to write about again on Monday, my regular day.

Since Sunday = Academy Awards and that = dinner provided by the lovely Dianne, cut throat wagering and red carpeting, I was clearly not cooking yesterday. The kid as at a sleep over and Shack was out visiting his dad so I couldn't even make a big lunch. The only thing I am cooking today are these Butter Scotch Cupcakes  as my last minute entry into the Food Network's Cooking Club Challenge for February.

It's a recipe from Ricardo Larrivée. I am taking them to the Oscar party so the only big change was to make mini cupcakes instead of full sized. I adapted the cooking time/temp by lowering the heat to 325F and I baked the cupcakes for 18 minutes and it worked perfectly.

I am going to be  honest, I did not love this recipe. The instructions for making the caramel were not detailed enough. I tried to follow it and cook the sugar and water until it turned golden brown but it never did. Instead, the first batch just suddenly crystallized and turned into a rock with no warning. I had to throw it out and start over and the second time, since I knew it was never going to brown, I had no idea how long to cook it. I think it probably should have cooked longer because the resulting butterscotch was very liquid, pale and runny and basically just soaked into the cupcakes as opposed to filling them like a thick lemon curd would, which is what I expected. I had no idea whether the butterscotch was supposed to be thick or runny because it's never mentioned in the recipe and didn't see that there was a video until after I made them so clearly, we live on two different planets where his sugar turns dark, golden brown and mine never does. His caramel was all thick and gooey and mine was thin and soupy. I don't think that recipe should require that you watch the video first to be clear.

Luckily, we had a bottle of pretty mild scotch because we usually drink LaPhroig or Lagavulin and I can't imagine that a cupcake reeking of peet moss would be very appealing.

The butterscotch, on it's own, was far too strong and I didn't like it much but once you put the whole thing together with the icing you can't really taste the scotch at all anymore.

The texture of the icing was just stiff enough to pipe BEFORE i added the hot cream and then it certainly became silky but it was too liquidy to pipe nicely. Again, maybe it's just me because other people didn't have this problem. One other person who made them said her frosting came out tasting okay but all grainy. 

Okay, clearly I would not choose to make these again but they aren't totally terrible but not worth the effort at all, in my opinion. Sorry Monsieur Larrivée but this just did not rock my world. I have to tell you that Jen made them this week and hers turned out perfectly so it might just be me who can't seem to get the butterscotch or the icing right lol!

That said, I fed them to Dianne and her guests last night!

Ricardo Larrivée's Butterscotch Cupcakes from Ricardo and Friends on Food Network Canada

what every baking pantry needs, right?



  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons Scotch (or other whisky)
  • 1/4 cup 35% cream, hot
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

Vanilla butter cream icing

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons 35% cream, hot



    1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 325F . Place paper or silicone liners in mini muffin pans.
    2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is smooth. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and alternate them with the milk. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
    3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool a bit before you remove them from the muffin tin and finish cooling on a rack.


    1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns golden-brown. Off the heat, add the Scotch, the cream and butter. Continue stirring until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

    Vanilla butter cream icing

    1. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream in a thin stream and continue beating until smooth. Set aside.


    1. Using a apple corer, a melon baller or a sharp paring knife to cut a pocket from the centre of each cupcake. Fill the pocket with  butterscotch. Ice the cupcakes with the butter cream icing. It's a nice touch to put the icing in a piping bag and make them a bit fancy.

    See how soft and blobby the frosting looks?


    1. ugh, i hate recipes that gloss over the details. caramelizing sugar isn't hard, but it certainly helps to have an idea of timing. is it possible you added too much water? that can make it feel like forever before the sugar browns. (also, i'm a rebel and i always do it over high heat, because i'm impatient like that).

      looks like they taste good, at least.


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