My fair/damp/slightly mildewed city has reached the time of year before it’s cloudy for basically three months running, but the lack of cloud cover makes for really chilly nights. The days have this absurdly beautiful crisp fall weather with a few wisps of clouds floating overhead; a cool, bright light; and a gorgeous blue sky I can’t remember ever seeing when I lived in the Inland Empire. I’m sorry for making you read through an overly-descriptive paragraph that has nothing to do with the actual cupcakes, but only partially because it is beautiful in the Willamette Valley right now.
I’ve never actually had hot buttered rum, but they were the request, so I did research. And by “research,” I mean I googled “hot buttered rum cupcakes” so I could see if anyone has done it before and with what success. The takeaway from that link was the browned butter frosting. It tastes fantastically like toffee and even if it doesn’t really taste like what buttered rum would taste like IT IS SO DELICIOUS. Ye vegans, please note that earth balance has some browning possibilities, so these are still a possibility for you.
1 cup of milk/non-dairy milk, minus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses (I’m not sold on what this does, but it does turn the color of the cupcakes into a richer brown, so you can forgo it, but it’s awesome for presentation purposes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your tins.
Add the vinegar to the milk/non-dairy milk and allow to curdle. In the meantime, beat together the butter and sugar; wait to beat in the molasses until the sugar and butter are mostly combined (I think this makes the molasses easier to beat in). Then mix in the vanilla.
My lovely assistant helped mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and powder, spices, salt) while I was beating the sugar and butter.
Now, whisk in the curdled milk, and add the rum.
If the oven is hot enough, mix together the flour mixture with the liquid mixture. Since there is no egg in these cupcakes, they depend almost exclusively on the chemical leavening of the baking soda and powder. That means that waiting until you’re ready to put the cupcakes in the oven to mix the liquid ingredients with the dry makes for the fluffiest cupcakes.
Anyways, mix them together, fill the baking cups about 2/3-3/4 full, and bake for 20-24 minutes.
I’m convinced the frosting is what makes these a winner, and much thanks to Cupcake Rehab for the recipe (which was hardly modified, honestly).
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-3 cupcakes powdered sugar
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
Browning butter is fairly simply, really. What it amounts to is gently slightly burning the fat in butter after melting it. It’s not too dissimilar from clarifying butter and then toasting it.
Anyhow, it’s easy. For this frosting, take 1/4 cup of butter and melt it over medium heat and stir frequently with a spatula (mine is silicone, so no worries for me. I don’t really know how rubber does, however).
It will start browning and smelling delicious, but when to pull it off the heat is a little subjective. I waited until it seemed like it was well but not thoroughly browned because I didn’t want it burned. It should look like there are little flakes of brown in the pan with a slightly foamy liquid floating on top of a clear layer.
Pull it off the heat and allow it to cool. Once it has cooled, beat it with the remaining 1/4 cup of softened butter until mixed. Then slowly beat in the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. After the first two 1/2 cups, add the vanilla and rum and mix in, and then continue with the powdered sugar. As always, manage the texture with a little more milk or rum and powdered sugar until it reaches about the texture for what you need.
We also made a buttery rum syrup to drizzle over the tops of these cupcakes. I’m feeling too lazy to actually copy it here, so I’m just going to link to it.