Scientifically Sweet: Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes

Single wasn't enough. Double just didn't cut it. These cupcakes had to have a triple dose of butterscotch.

First things first. Let's settle the difference between Butterscotch and Caramel. They look similar, smell similar, and to the untrained palate, they can also taste similar. But, they are two different animals. Caramel gets its name from its method of production, called caramelization. This phenomenon refers to the transformation of sucrose (regular table sugar) under conditions of very high temperatures into new coloured flavour compounds. The addition of certain acids can help to increase the rate of reaction by promoting the breakdown of sugar (it helps to cleave the bonds that hold glucose molecules together).

Butterscotch, however, is based on brown sugar and does not necessarily undergo the same degree of caramelization as caramel, if any at all. Its rich flavour is derived mostly from the combination of cooked brown sugar and butter. Brown sugar is essentially white table sugar coated with molasses, and it is the element which distinguishes the two famous sauces. In each case, corn syrup helps maintain fluidity of the sauces by preventing crystallization. It contains some larger, longer-chain saccharides (carbohydrates) which get in between simple sugar molecules and interfere with re-crystallization.

Above all, if you like butterscotch, you'll love these Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes. So, go give your brown sugar the attention it deserves and then put it all in your stomach. I did, and that was lunch.


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  1. These cupcakes look so perfect and delicious!! :D

  2. Chia, You're insane! How do you come up with this stuff? I could eat my screen it looks so good.
    You better be ready for the shower, because I'm expecting a lot of "little bites".

  3. Now I know the difference between caramel and butterscotch! I just thought butterscotch was a fancy pants name for caramel!Ha!

  4. I made these fabulous cupcakes today--thanks so much for the recipe! My cupcakes came out a little tough--I think maybe I over-beat the batter--but they look almost as pretty as yours. Thanks again!

  5. I'm glad you love these cupcakes as much as I do Sly. Over-beating the batter can definitely lead to tougher cupcakes - especially if you are using a high-powered stand mixer. If so, I would only beat the batter for 5 seconds on the last run after adding the vinegar. I'm sure they still turned out wonderfully!


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