At first glance these may appear to be plain Jane lemon cupcakes with vanilla frosting. However, these little cakes include a secret ingredient that some might find surprising: fresh corn.
Or maybe I'm the only one that is surprised. If you google 'corn cupcakes' lots of results pop up, which means I'm probably a little bit behind the curve when it comes to corn in my cupcakes. I wouldn't have even known about it if David Lebovitz, one of my favorite food writers, hadn't posted a link to the recipe on Facebook (thank you, David!).
After reading the recipe it really started to make sense. Corn is naturally sweet so why not make cupcakes with it? I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. My initial assumption was that it would go one of two ways: either the cupcakes would end up tasting like corn muffins or the corn flavor would be nonexistent.
Well, I was wrong and am happy to report that these cupcakes are moist and tender with just enough corn flavor to make it interesting and different. The frosting is very rich and buttery and makes the cupcakes super decadent, although I would be happy to eat the cupcakes just by themselves.
I've included the recipe, but be sure to visit the original article if you've never made brown butter before. You will find steps for that as well as other great corn recipes.
Fresh Corn Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
Recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle
1 1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup fresh corn kernel (from 1-2 ears)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces browned butter, cooled and softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh corn kernels, for garnish
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Using a mixer cream the butter and sugar together until it's nice and fluffy.
Using a food processor or blender pulse the sour cream and corn kernels together until smooth. Most likely there will still be bits of corn, which is fine.
Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream mixture to the butter and sugar. Then add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin .
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting first cream the two butters together with the honey in a medium bowl. Add in the lemon, vanilla and salt. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, using a slow mixing speed, until combined. Turn the mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy.