Creme Brulee Cupcakes


Can you ever have too many cupcake recipes? Never! Here’s one that I’m so excited I’ve gotten around to trying. I finally bought a kitchen torch about a year ago but I can’t believe I haven’t posted any creme brûléed desserts yet. I love creme brûlée and the way its sugar coating nearly instantly caramelizes thanks to those ingenious kitchen torches. I almost feel magic :) as I watch the sugar melt into tiny round beads, then spread and rapidly change from a soft white to various vibrant colors.

Creme Brulee Cupcakes | Cooking Classy

If you are like me and love French pastries then you’ll adore these cupcakes. Not only do you get a delicious homemade cupcake but you also get a rich, vanilla bean pastry cream topping that’s generously coated with sugar and brûléed to a crisp and crunchy perfection. To take a fork (or to skip the fork, because who needs it when you’ve got a cupcake this good) and break through that toasted sugar shell, into a lush pastry cream and through a fluffy cupcake is utter bliss I tell you. The textures, the flavors and just the simple elegance of this cupcake with have you smitten. It is definitely a must try cupcake! Enjoy!

Creme Brulee Cupcakes | Cooking Classy

Creme Brulee Cupcakes | Cooking Classy


Creme Brûlée Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar , divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean I sell them!
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg , at room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  • Granulated sugar , about 1/3 cup
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • 12 fresh raspberries (optional)


  1. For the pastry cream:
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, milk, 6 Tbsp sugar, salt and seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean along with vanilla bean pod over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a gentle bubble, stirring occasionally (remove from heat as necessary to prevent vigorous boiling while preparing remainder). Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 2 Tbsp sugar until well blended. Add cornstarch to egg yolk mixture and mix until very well combined and and slightly pale and fluffy. Take about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture from pan, and while vigorously whisking, slowly pour hot cream mixture (about 1 Tbsp at a time) into egg yolk mixture. Reduce burner temperature to medium-low. Then, while whisking hot cream mixture in saucepan, slowly pour egg yolk mixture into hot cream mixture in saucepan. Cook mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened (allow it to boil for about 30 seconds to cook out starchy flavor). Immediately force mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Mix in 1 Tbsp butter. Cover with plastic wrap pressing directly against surface of custard. Chill thoroughly, about 2 hours.
  3. For the cupcakes:
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg then blend in egg whites and vanilla. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and blend just until combined, then add milk and blend just until combined and finish adding in remaining 1/2 flour mixture and blend just until combined. Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven 21 - 24 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To assemble cupcakes:
  6. Pipe or spread chilled pastry cream over cooled cupcakes into an even layer. Working with one cupcake at a time, sprinkle entirety of pastry cream with sugar then heat with a kitchen torch until sugar begins to melt and caramelize (I would first coat the edges of pastry cream while rotating the cupcake, then sprinkle tops, then I would torch it and add another layer of sugar. I just found working in layers worked best so it didn't all bead up and just run off the sides, but just experiment and see what works best for you. I used about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp sugar per cupcake). Allow topping to cool then garnish with whipped cream and a raspberry if desired. Serve immediately (note: the pastry cream can be made the day before and the cupcakes can be made hours ahead of time but top with sugar and caramelize sugar just before serving).
  7. Recipe Source: vanilla cupcake adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes via Oprah, pastry cream lightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated



  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: A little present I recently bought myself was a mini kitchen torch! I ordered it on amazon and the torch came but the butane is coming tomorrow. I so want to make these and break in my torch :) pinned January 2, 2014 at 1:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for pinning Averie! You’re going to love having a kitchen torch! January 2, 2014 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar: I love these!!! The brulee topping is killer! January 2, 2014 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Renee@ Two in the Kitchen: Your pictures are always so vibrant! I love that little puff of smoke coming up off the cupcake in the first pic. These cupcakes look amazing! Happy New Year!! January 2, 2014 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Renee! Happy New Year to you! January 2, 2014 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Liz @ Virtually Homemade: Amazing cupcakes! The crunchy top sounds so good. January 2, 2014 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness: These are the dang prettiest cupcakes my eyes have ever peeped! Now, I just need a kitchen torch…..This could end badly.
    At least I know it was in effort to make these delicious like bites of cupcake heaven! January 2, 2014 at 4:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Taylor :)! January 2, 2014 at 5:29pm Reply

  • Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like these. They look amazing! January 2, 2014 at 7:10pm Reply

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef: I saw these and had to visit to see how you kept the sugar from melting off. At least I’m not the only one. I love this idea and they are gorgeous! January 2, 2014 at 9:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Maureen! January 2, 2014 at 10:22pm Reply

  • Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks: These look like cupcake perfection! I love anything with pastry cream and any excuse to use my torch :) Beautiful photos! January 2, 2014 at 9:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Jessica :)! January 2, 2014 at 10:22pm Reply

  • Renee @ Awesome on $20: I love creme brulee. Using the torch is so fun, and people are always so impressed. These cupcakes sound wonderful. January 2, 2014 at 10:57pm Reply

  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction: These cupcakes sound fantastic and are gorgeous! Love these! January 3, 2014 at 7:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Jessica! January 3, 2014 at 6:27pm Reply

  • sara: Wow! These look AMAZING. What a great idea. Makes me want to get a blow torch. :) January 3, 2014 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.: Ohmagahhhhh!!! These are genius! January 3, 2014 at 9:37pm Reply

  • Rachel @ Bakerita: Creme Brulee Cupcakes have been written in my notebook for soooo long now on the list of things I want to make, but I could never figure out logistically how I wanted to make them. Definitely need to try out your version!! Yummy :D pinned! January 4, 2014 at 10:08am Reply

  • Deborah: I am addicted to my kitchen torch! Creme brûlée is one of my favorite desserts, so these are totally calling to me! January 4, 2014 at 3:42pm Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: I have never, ever wanted a cupcake more. Jaclyn, these look incredible! I need a kitchen torch now. On my MUST list. :) January 5, 2014 at 1:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes you’ve gotta get one, they’re so fun :)! January 5, 2014 at 6:46pm Reply

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen: So sweet and inventive, Jaclyn! I just love this idea. Perfect with Valentine’s Day coming. Thank you for sharing. Pinning! January 14, 2014 at 4:12am Reply

  • Karina: They look delightful! Can’t wait to try all your wonderful recipes. Thank you so much dr sharing your talents. January 17, 2014 at 11:52am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love them Karina! Thanks for your comment :)! January 17, 2014 at 5:44pm Reply

  • Cupcake Daily Blog – Happiness in a Single Bite!: Absolutely lovely!! ;) January 19, 2014 at 3:58am Reply

  • Sydnie: I’m anxious to try these! Did you use whole milk for the pastry cream also? Your recipe doesn’t list a milk % there. :) January 25, 2014 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just used low fat (since theres already a greater ratio of cream in there :). Anything would work as long as it’s not skim. I hope you love them Sydnie! January 25, 2014 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Sharon Vinod: Hi Jaclyn,
    stumbled on your site when i was checking out for cheesecakes on Pinterest…that white chocolate cheesecake with the strawberry filling design is simply spectacular…so simple and so very elegant.

    These cream brulee cupcakes are such a novel idea too,and well executed…can you tell me how much is the yield for both the cupcakes and the pastry cream, thanks. January 26, 2014 at 11:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the compliment Sharon! These yield 12 cupcakes (sorry I’ll add that above) and the pastry cream is probably about 2 1/2 cups. February 2, 2014 at 10:32pm Reply

  • Sharon Vinod: And one more thing…which pastry tip did you use to pipe out the whipped cream garnish? Thanks again. January 26, 2014 at 11:20pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think it was the Wilton 6B or the 8B. They are basically the same just a ones a little bit bigger so either should work fine. January 29, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

  • whit flower: I don’t have a stand mixer so can i use the electric mixer and if i use it i will follow the steps as it in the recipe? please answer me March 1, 2014 at 5:41am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It should work just fine with a hand mixer. Hope you love them! March 18, 2014 at 8:39pm Reply

  • Lily: Does the Brulee’d sugar stay hard? If I make them the day before will the sugar melt? Thanks! March 29, 2014 at 9:01pm Reply

  • Lily: Never mind….lol…i just read the page again. :) March 29, 2014 at 9:02pm Reply

  • shari garst: I have made a Lavendar Brulee cupcake for about 5 years and find the best way is to frost cupcake turn cupcake upside dowm onto a plate of raw sugar pressing gently and freezing before using the torch. April 11, 2014 at 11:11am Reply

  • tina: If I don’t have a torch, and I don’t have TIME to order one, can I get away with just throwing them under a broiler? I was HOPING to make these tonight. ~tina May 2, 2014 at 4:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried. I don’t know how evenly it would caramelize it plus you wouldn’t want to dry the cupcakes so I might not recommend it. May 3, 2014 at 12:26am Reply

  • Librarian Lavender: Such pretty cupcakes! I don’t have a torch, but I’m admiring the recipe! May 7, 2014 at 8:13am Reply

  • Panier Jean-Pierre: Hi,
    Very good idea this cupcake !
    I suppose that the pastry cream is what we call
    “Crème pâtissière” in French.
    I shall try to it.
    What is a cup in ingredients ? Not used for me.
    I am a French man loving baking !!!
    All the best September 1, 2014 at 1:21am Reply

  • Hala: Hi Jaclyn,

    Is this the most wonderful cupcake ever I have ever see or what? what a beauty.
    I am new to this blog and couldn’t stop staring to this recipe for minutes.. just wondering will it become that perfect if I do it?
    I have one small question though: How can we coat with sugar, torch and then coat again? I mean will the second sugar layer melt from heat or remain a bit granulated? thank you for taking the time to read my comment and the very best of luck in whatever you do. November 25, 2014 at 1:44am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the compliment Hala! You could definitely just do one layer if that’s what you find works best for you I just like to have a bit of a thicker layer so I did too, but yours should definitely turn out looking the same :). November 27, 2014 at 12:23am Reply

  • Cisca: I am so super excited to have found this. I have been looking for a special cupcake to make for my birthday celebrations and this will be awesome. I think I’ll have to try them out a couple of times before my birthday just to be sure that they’re perfect on the day….. :) January 16, 2015 at 12:08am Reply

  • Aurelia Lambrechts: Creme brulee cupcakes really are a revelation…. I made a coconut, lemon and passion fruit cake topped then with pastry cream and brulee the top same as you. SO GOOD! Have you perhaps found a way to make the sugar crust last longer before it melts? March 27, 2015 at 9:21am Reply

  • Laurie: How long will the sugar brûlée last before it melts? May 17, 2015 at 10:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It will vary depending on the environment you live in but probably about 1 hour. May 22, 2015 at 9:11pm Reply

  • Brooke: I can’t believe these exist! This is awesome! I don’t think I’d have the talent to pull them off, but I still admire them from afar. :) July 2, 2015 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Amiah: These look amazing, but can they be done as a mini cupcake? How should I modify the recipe to do so? Thank you so much October 5, 2015 at 9:41pm Reply

  • Hala: Hello. I don’t seem to be able to get the pastry cream swirled as beautiful as these. Can you please advise which tip you have used? or any trick to get them look as s smooth as yours on the cupcake? Thank you October 28, 2015 at 12:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just used a large plain round tip then smoothed the top. November 12, 2015 at 5:30pm Reply

  • safiyah: this looks amazing! if i were to make these, how long would they last at room temperature? November 30, 2015 at 1:12am Reply

  • Natalie: It looks delicious!!!
    Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean? How much of it?
    Thank you! January 5, 2016 at 5:24am Reply

  • Ema: Hello, I would like to ask, should i melt the butter for the pastry cream or use room temperature?
    Thank you! April 13, 2016 at 12:39am Reply

  • Coco in the Kitchen: These are just so cute, I can’t stand it!
    I love the torched frosting. I’ll bet they smell and taste amazing. Can’t wait to try them. May 4, 2016 at 9:46am Reply

  • Isidora: Can I do the cupcakes the day before too? June 17, 2016 at 4:25pm Reply

  • Lisa Kaufmann: I can’t wait to try them out.
    Lisa July 26, 2016 at 3:24pm Reply

Add your comment:

Copyright 2011-2018 Cooking Classy | Privacy Policy
Design by cre8d