Every year, we celebrate Mardi Gras with a Cajun inspired dinner. We’ve done it for several years, even though we’ve never actually been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. However, when I was in college my mom and I visited the city for a conference. For my first time, I tasted crawfish (complete with sucking their heads), beignets, muffalettas, hurricanes, and pecan pralines. Immediately, I was in love with the city!
Recently, the lovely and talented Aimee Broussard created a delicious recipes for Pecan Praline Topped King Cake Cookies. It’s not any ‘ole recipe, either — it’s an award winning recipe. These cookies won a bake off at the Mixed Conference, this year. As with pretty much every yummy cookie recipe I find, I look for a way to turn it into a cupcake. This cookie was no exception, especially because my daughter declared she really, really wanted a King Cake Cupcake for Mardi Gras.
These little goodies are a marriage between King Arthur Flour’s Mardi Gras King Cupcakes and Aimee Broussard’s Pecan Praline King Cake Cookies. They required a double cupcake liner because the sweet praline sauce was dripping down the side. You will definitely need a napkin after these cupcakes, but it’s totally worth it!! I did not add the pecans to my cupcakes because my son is highly allergic, but the pecans would add an even more authentic New Orleans taste, if you’d like.
Praline King Cake Cupcakes
Cream Cheese Frosting:
For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffins tins with cupcake liners. Spray insides of liners with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer. The mixture will take on a sandy consistency. Add vanilla and lemon extract to milk and slowly add to flour mixture. Add eggs to mixture, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 1/2 full. If you use a mini ice cream scooper, use two scoops per muffin tin. If using a regular ice cream scoop, just use one scoop per muffin tin. Place in oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center of cupcake should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
For praline topping: Add brown sugar, white sugar, and evaporated milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Add butter and vanilla extract to pan. (If using pecans, add to pan at this point, also). Let mixture return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly. Once the mixture has cooled, dip top of cupcakes in mixture. Alternately, if using pecans, spoon praline mixture over tops of cupcakes. Some of the mixture will run down the sides of the cupcakes.
For the frosting: Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and lemon extract in a medium-sized bowl, and beat them together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, alternating with the milk (if needed), until frosting is fluffy. Pipe frosting on top of cupcake. If desired, sprinkle cupcakes with gold, green, and purple sprinkles.