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Crème Brulee Cupcakes

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It took me a while to figure out how to make these cupcakes because we used to make them in the bakery I worked at and I wanted to come up with a new and better way to make them without the crispy toffee softening over time, so here they are! My vanilla bean paste, pastry cream filled, crispy toffee and vanilla buttercream cupcakes! They’re to die for!

Creme Brule Cupcakes

Vanilla bean cupcakes filled with French pastry cream, topped with a crisp sugar toffee layer with vanilla bean buttercream frosting

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Crème Brule Cupcakes

Creme Brule Cupcakes

Crème Brule Cupcakes

Vanilla bean cupcakes filled with French pastry cream, topped with a crisp sugar toffee layer with vanilla bean buttercream frosting.

Serves 14

5 from 5 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 55 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Calories: 226kcal



  • 3 1/2 cups / 430 g plain flour, all-purpose
  • 1 1/4 cups / 265 g caster sugar, superfine
  • 3 tsp / 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 cup / 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large / 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml full-cream milk, whole
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp / 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt, or sour cream
  • 1 tsp / 1 tsp vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup / 175 ml golden syrup or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup / 150 g brown sugar, dark or light

Pastry Cream

  • 250 ml / 250 ml - 1 cup milk
  • 3 large / 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp / 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp / 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp / 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Learn How To Make it! [VIDEO]


Pastry Cream

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a small bowl. Add flour, and mix until smooth and free of lumps.
  • Thin egg-yolk mixture with approximately 1/4 cup of warm milk. When remaining milk begins to boil, add it to egg-yolk mixture, and stir well. Return to saucepan, and place over high heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream thickens and boils, about 1 minute. (Turning the pan as you whisk helps to easily reach all areas of pan.)
  • Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, until cream becomes shiny and easier to stir, about 2 minutes more. Run it through a sift over a bowl and sift out the lumps. Add vanilla bean paste and stir until well combined. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming and allow to cool.


  • Preheat your oven to 180C (356F) or 160C (320F) for a fan forced oven. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (alternatively you may do this by sifting the ingredients together). Add the softened butter and let it mix until it resembles a fine sand like texture.
  • Next, add milk, eggs, yogurt, oil and vanilla extract in a large jug and whisk well.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
  • Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way (using an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process otherwise you can use two tablespoons). Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
  • While your cupcakes are baking, and cooling prepare the buttercream frosting by adding vanilla bean paste to the frosting and mix until well combined with flicks of vanilla bean pods.
  • Brush some maple or golden syrup on top of each cupcakes and dip them in the brown sugar to help the sugar stick. Use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar on top. Let them cool down completely before you core the centre and fill it with the crème patisserie.
  • Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip and frost your cupcakes in a swirl motion as demonstrated in the video.


Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.


Serving: 20g
Calories : 226kcal
Carbonhydrates: 27g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 0.1g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 59mg
Sodium: 143mg
Potassium : 43mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 9g
Vitamin A: 206IU
Vitamin C: 0.1mg
Calcium: 59mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure
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Jorja July 5, 2021 - 8:48 am

5 stars
These were so great, the Creme patisserie was so good and the cupcake was so light and fluffy. The buttercream frosting was one of the best I have made and the whole thing tasted exactly like a creme brûlée. The only thing I struggled with was trying not to set the paper on fire when torching the sugar but was easily fixed by removing it. Great recipe 🙂

Nick Makrides July 5, 2021 - 9:45 am

This is so amazing to hear Jorja! Thanks so much for the lovely feedback!

Deborah July 20, 2022 - 7:08 pm

Hi Nick

These look perfect for using your recent post of pastry cream. The recipe says 20 cupcakes. Most of your other cupcake recipes yield 12 or 14. Are these particularly small and would the quantity of this recipe be suitable to reduce the number of cupcakes to 12. 14 or maximum of 16?

Should I bake 0n 140 or 160 for a fan forced oven? I have never used the fan oven on 140 for cupcakes. Always 160 or 170.

Hope to hear from you soon as I wish to set on with baking this yumminess!

Thanks for sharing and for all your inspirational cake recipes.

Nick Makrides August 1, 2022 - 4:17 am

Hi Deborah! I’ve gone in and updated the recipe quantity to 14. I would bake these at 120C for a fan forced oven as per my updated vanilla cupcakes recipe. It yields a slightly denser cupcake but a nice flat one with no browning. Hope that helps! N x

Samantha September 26, 2022 - 3:08 pm

If I store these in the refrigerator over night will the sugar top get soggy/ soft?
Thank you!

Nick Makrides October 31, 2022 - 7:21 am

Hi Samantha! Yep, it will. I would add and toast the sugar right before serving for best results. N x

Summer April 4, 2024 - 8:42 pm

I wanted to come up with a new and better way to make them without the crispy toffee softening over time. So how is this achieved if they need to be torched before serving?

Nick Makrides April 17, 2024 - 8:39 am

Hi Summer! Unfortunately, I haven’t tested it with other methods and because of the nature of sugar and it melting, it would need to be done right before serving so that it stays crisp. The beauty is that the toffee takes seconds to finish off! N x

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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