Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 0 comments

There's a new cupcake place that just opened near my house. It's to die for, but a little expensive. So, I thought I'd try my favorite flavor (Salted Caramel, so far) at home. No, I didn't make them using my own recipe - I am not the best at baking (but getting better) and I'd have no clue how to do that anyway. I looked up two recipes online and combined them. The cake is chocolate with caramel icing.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake Batter (From Martha Stewart originally, but found here):
* Makes 18 Cupcakes *

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
3/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. sugar (I used 1/2 c. raw sugar and 1 c. sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda3/4 tsp. baking powder3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk (I did the old milk and lemon juice trick) 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract (never, never use Imitation Vanilla)
3/4 c. warm water

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and the water; beat until smooth and combined, scraping sides of bowl evenly.

2) Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling to about two-thirds full.
Here's a trick my mom taught me - if you don't need to use all the cupcake cups, fill them with water. That way the filled cupcakes will bake evenly.

Bake, rotating tins halfway through (if your oven heats unevenly like mine does, you do NOT want to skip this step. Besides, when is Martha Stewart not right?), until a
cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupca
kes onto racks and let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing (Recipe from Savory Bites)
1 stick butter (I used margarine)
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used 1/4 c. raw and 1/4 c. granulated)
1/2 c. heavy cream (I actually used light cream)
Pinch of sea salt (trust me, table salt won't have the same effect)

1) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook granulated sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt... Making caramel is a fine art because, while you want it to turn into an amber brown, you don't want it to burn. However, you do want a hint of that smokey flavor. In other words, burn a bit, but not too much.

2) Carefully pour the cream in, in a steady stream. The whole thing will bubble and sputter...

Just keep stirring until completely smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.

3) Using a mixer, cream the butter until fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar half a cup at a time. You may not need all 4 cups. The sugar just helps the consistency of the buttercream. Then, when the consistency is the way you want it (3 cups worked for me), add the pinch of sea salt (I used more like a teaspoon to make it taste closer to Flavor's).

Take a spoonful of the caramel and add it to the frosting in dollops. Gently stir.

You know what to do next... I was going to use my cute cupcake decorator that I got as a wedding present, but I ran out of time to figure out how it works. School work was calling me - next time I'll give that a shot. I did sprinkle a tiiiiiiiiny bit of salt on top of the cupcakes.

Result: Pretty good. Definitely not as good as Flavor's - there's isn't really a buttercream icing. Will have to keep searching for the perfect whipped creamish icing. Also, not as salty as I wanted them to be (which could also be due to the buttercream icing). I am majorly a salty/sweet girl. If it doesn't have some saltiness to it, I probably won't eat much of it. And, if it's chocolate it HAS to be salty as well or I am almost definitely not a fan. Next time, I think I'll add salt to the caramel and I definitely didn't let it "burn" enough.


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