Vanilla Bean Cupcake:
- 6 tablespoons self-rising flour
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Salted Caramel Cheesecake:
- One 8-ounce package cream cheese
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Frosting:
- 8 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake pans with paper liners (for a total of 36 mini cupcakes).
For the vanilla bean cupcake: In a small bowl, combine the self-rising and all-purpose flours. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract, and mix until well blended. Fold in the vanilla bean paste.
For the salted caramel: Cook the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking it occasionally as it melts, until it turns a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool in a glass bowl. Add the fleur de sel.
For the salted caramel cheesecake: Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in a third of the salted caramel.
Layer the cupcake liners with some of the vanilla bean cupcake batter first. Add a drizzle of the salted caramel (not too much) before adding a layer of the salted caramel cheesecake batter. Fill the liners with both batters about three-quarters full because the cupcakes will rise. (Depending on your layering technique, you may have more of one batter than the other. You can always make straight cupcakes or cheesecakes with the extra batter.)
Bake about 18 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
For the vanilla bean mascarpone frosting: Beat the mascarpone, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until fluffy.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting, decorating with the extra caramel.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchens have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.