Baking with my Daughter: Brown Sugar Cupcakes

As soon as I knew I was having a child I knew I wanted her to love food the way I do. I wanted her to love this process, from start to finish. I wanted her to be passionate about where her food comes from, what she eats. I wanted her to care what she put in her body. Watching other parents and their young children I realized quickly, those that were involved in cooking, in choosing ingredients, in raising and growing food were the ones that ate well. They were the kids whose relationship with food I envied, and could only hope to cultivate that relationship between my own child and food.IMG_1080.JPGRather then another portrait series I’ve decided to get back to where I began with this blog. Cooking and baking. My daughter has become such an integral part of my life and everything I do, so it seemed only natural to involve her. There’s also the fact that every time I go into the kitchen to make something a certain toddler follows me and says “Mama help!”, while pointing enthusiastically to herself.IMG_1082.JPGSo this years project will not be photos (although there will of course be photos), but recipes and stories to accompany them. This first recipe is courtesy of Joy the Bakers new cookbook, Homemade Decadence. This little girl choose cupcakes as our first venture. I’m a little surprised it wasn’t pie with her love of all things pie. She was in charge of dumping ingredients and stirring as per usual, as well as distributing cupcake liners which is super entertaining when you’re a toddler FYI. These cupcakes were super delicious. The brown sugar flavor was rich and deep with a hint of molasses. Almost like butterscotch. But the best part of these cupcakes is when you get a tiny pocket of unmixed brown sugar, that sort of caramelized while baking. It’s soooo good. I was reminded of these cupcakes I made a few years back.

I hope you enjoy this new series for 2015. I have a feeling I will!IMG_0114.JPG

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

Recipe adapted slightly from Joy the Baker from Homemade Decadence

A note on this recipe: although the frosting is titled salted caramel frosting, I didn’t find it very salty. If that’s was you’re looking for I suggest adding an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.


3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking power
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk


1. Put racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcakes pans with liners.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs and egg yolk, vanilla and brown sugar. Add the brown sugar mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir well. Add the buttermilk as well. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20-23 minutes. I made mini cupcakes as well, those needed approximately 11 minutes. Let cool in pans before transferring. Frost with salted caramel frosting.

4. The cupcakes will keep, unfrosted and well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days. Cupcakes can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 7 days.

Salted Caramel Frosting


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups confections sugar, sifted


1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine butter, cream, vanilla, brown sugar and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar melts and the mixture begins to simmer, about 4 minutes.

2. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add 2 cups of the confectioners sugar and beat on medium-low until well mixed. Add additional 2 to 2 1/2 cups and beat until thick and fluffy, about 6 minutes.

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