Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Toasted Walnuts, Homemade Toffee, and Cream

Sometimes I am just so enamored with a cupcake. This is one of those times. These little babies are tasty. Deliciously chocolately while not being too sweet, the burnt taste of the toffee with the cool cream, and add to that the texture and flavor of the nuts!?! Yum!

I had a little trouble with this recipe. The trouble lied mostly with getting all the bread soaked with the chocolate mixture and into the cupcake papers. My first attempt involved filling the cupcake cups with bread chunks then pouring in the batter. This proved very messy. My second, more successful attempt, which I really should have done in the first place, involved pre-soaking the bread chunks in the batter then scooping into the cupcake cups… One simple change and all was well.

Aside from that, I can’t say enough about the flavor experience that these cupcakes provide. The chocolate is right there, not too sweet, the sort of chocolate flavor you get from a perfect warm chocolate cake… The toffee, oh, the toffee… you can use store-bought toffee to save time, but I plead of you, do not! The deliciously complex taste of a slightly burnt, homemade toffee is the perfect crunchy companion to the already stellar chocolate thing going on. Seriously! Well worth the effort. The walnuts and whipped cream round things off resulting in what I consider to be my favorite cupcake creation so far.

The flavor combination was by request from my husband whose birthday is tomorrow. Unfortunately, between the two of us we have already devoured a number of his birthday cupcakes… Oops.


3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 cup sugar

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring everything to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2. The mixture will start to boil with vigor. Do not stir. Let the mixture boil over medium-low heat until the mixture turns a deep nutty brown, about 20 minutes
3. Pour on to a prepared baking sheet (either covered in a silpat or oiled parchment paper) and leave it to cool.
4. After the toffee has cooled, break it into small chunks.

Note: I like my toffee very dark – almost burnt. Getting the toffee just right for your taste can be a challenge. I think a nutty brown is a good place to start. One additional warning, if you cook it very long you could nearly ruin your pan or at a minimum create bunch of cleanup work for yourself. Don’t use your favorite pot or pan!

very dark toffee
cooled toffee

Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes
27 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1-pound loaf dense white bread, 1 or 2 days old (I used Acme Pan de Mie, but you could use challah or brioche)
10 ounces Valrhona or any bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
toffee from recipe above, chopped

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the cream, milk, vanilla, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Chop bread into 1/2″ cubes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Bring mixture back to boil and stir in chopped chocolate. Take off the heat and continue to stir until chocolate is melted.
4. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until combined.
5. Pour the mixture carefully over the bread cubes. Stir until all cubes are covered. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes.
6. Set aside about 1/4 cup each of the walnuts and toffee. Sprinkle the remaining into the bread cubes. Stir to combine.
7. Scoop soaked bread cubes into cupcake papers until bread cubes are level with the top of the rim.
8. Carefully pour the remaining liquid into each cupcake filling until nearly full.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for ~22-25 minutes until set.

baked cupcakes
baked cupcakes

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whisk until combined.

1. Top cooled cupcakes with some cream
2. Topped with crushed toffee and chopped walnuts.

soaking the bread in chocolate

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