A: Steam cupcakes, of course.
My oven was not broken, however I decided that it would be fun to try to make cupcakes in the steamer. For those who might be interested in trying alternative ways of making cupcakes, I present to you my report on reasons to and reasons not to make cupcakes in the steamer:
Advantages of Making Cupcakes in the Steamer
1. Steamed cupcakes have a nice, spongy texture.
2. If your entire oven is in use (or you don’t have a working oven), you can still make cupcakes.
Disadvantages of Making Cupcakes in the Steamer
1. Unless you have a giant commercial steamer, you can only make four cupcakes at a time. Note: I told Bride and Groom 2.0 that I will not be making steamed cupcakes for their wedding. It would take forever!
2. Because the cupcakes are not in a cupcake tin, they spread out and don’t have as nice of a shape.
Verdict: To Steam or Not To Steam, That is the Question
I do not plan on steaming cupcakes again. It could happen, but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. If you have steamed cupcakes or have any good reasons why you would steam cupcakes, please let me know in the comments.
It All Started With Fleur de Sel
The steamed cupcake began its life with a comment by Food Vagabond on my post about dulce de leche. The Vagabond suggested an alternate way of making dulce de leche that involved fleur de sel. I had actually never heard of fleur de sel. It turns out that it’s a very expensive kind of salt ($15 for a tiny bag at the two stores I found it in). The Vagabond’s email review of it, however, had me sold:
“I prefer fleur de sel for almost any use (other than salting the pasta water maybe!) since I discovered it, because I love the taste and the ‘crunch’ – doesn’t dissolve immediately like normal salt but doesn’t remain rock hard like, well, rock salt. “
In doing my research on caramel cupcakes, I found that steamed caramel cupcakes are popular on the streets on Malaysia. According to Inside Nyanya’s Kitchen, the actual name is apam gula hangus – literally translated: burnt sugar steamed cupcake. I added the fleur de sel to mine to make it a salted steamed caramel cupcake or a salted apam gula hangus. Cultural insensitivities aside, saying that name out loud makes me laugh. Go ahead, say it.
Where’s the Frosting?
None of the recipes I found for apam gula hangus called for frosting. This simply would not do. There has been much debate about what makes something a cupcake. I posted about the difference between a cupcake and a muffin very early on in the project. More recently, I Heart Cuppycakes and Quirky Cupcakes posted something about the difference. Even more recently, Tempered Woman’s husband called my beer cheese cupcakes into question as not being cupcakes (this post is
definitely worth a read, btw, as it’s hilarious.) I did not want these cupcakes debated.
The short of it is, I thought these cupcakes had better have some frosting or I was going to get lots of crap.
I opted for a salted caramel frosting. I used it in two ways. I poked holes in the cupcakes and drizzled lots of caramel inside of them. Then, I put the caramel in the fridge until it hardened more and spread it on top. It still ended up looking more like a glaze. Whether glaze counts as frosting is up for additional debate. I say, “Yes!”
The Steamed Salted Caramel Cupcake (Salted Apam Gula Hangus) Review
These cupcakes tasted exactly like Werther’s Originals.
I had to go for the Asian commercial since these are Asian-inspired cupcakes. I have no idea what these people are saying, but if the candy makes you smile like it does this child, you would surely love these cupcakes. Bride 2.0 even said it was like the candy in cake format and I didn’t even prompt her for the quote.
The Steamed Salted Caramel Cupcake (Salted Apam Gula Hangus) Recipe
I got the recipe for this cupcake from Pusiva’s Culinary Studio. I have reprinted the recipe below. The only change from the original was to add the fleur de sel. A VERY important point about this recipe is that it did not state how many cupcakes it would make. As it turns out it, it only made 6 cupcakes. Definitely double it if you would like more than 6.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1/2 t fleur de sel or any salt of your choice
- 1 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
Melt the sugar on very low heat. When the color turns golden brown, immediately remove from heat and pour in the boiling water. (Note: This takes 10-15 minutes) Return to the heat and stir until the caramelized sugar dissolves in the water. Stir in fleur de sel. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mix cooled caramel syrup, egg, sugar, melted butter and milk. Stir well until sugar dissolves. Combine the wet ingredients to the sifted flour mixture. Whisk gently until it is lump free. Pour the batter into cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Steam on high for 15 minutes. (Note: Be careful not to burn yourself when removing the cupcakes from the steamer. I used tongs.) Let the cupcakes cool.
Salted Caramel Frosting Recipe
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 3/4 cup of sugar or vanilla sugar
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (I used fleur de sel)
1) Melt the butter in a large, deep heavy-duty saucepan. Stir in the sugar and and stir until golden brown. (Note: Do this on low to medium heat. The first time I did it, I did it on high and everything burnt. This should take about 10 minutes.)
2) Take off the heat and pour in half the cream and whisk like a crazy person until the caramel is smooth. Whisk in the rest of the cream and the salt.
As noted above, I poked holes in the cupcakes and drizzled copious amounts of the caramel into them. I then chilled the rest of the caramel in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Once it was thicker, I spread the caramel over the cupcakes.
Another Way to Bake Cupcakes Without an Oven
For another way to bake cupcakes without an oven, check out the crockpot cupcake experiment.