Friday, February 3, 2012

Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes

     Yesterday was Groundhog's Day. What a strange holiday. It's also my husband's birthday, and according to my facebook page, I have three other friend's who share his birthday. Besides considering what special dessert to make for J's birthday, I was thinking of the movie Groundhog's Day. I guess the point or lesson of the movie could be to be better than you were the day before. Unfortunately, we can't go back and redo the things that stink in our days (but that is for another type of blog isn't it?). That made me think of last year's birthday trifle that E and I made for his birthday. It sure would be hard to beat that! Then I found this recipe. Brown sugar cupcakes with salted caramel filling, caramel buttercream frosting, and caramel sauce drizzle. Are you kidding me? My obsession with salted caramel started around Christmas when my mom gave me a salted caramel chocolate from Crate and Barrel. I just can't get enough. 
     I wasn't even going to attempt that fancy caramel flourish that Sprinkle Bakes did. The caramel drizzle would have to suffice...as if caramel drizzle isn't good enough anyhow. Besides some caramel filling fiasco, that was completely my fault (I tried to do things a different way and should have just followed directions), these were pretty easy to make. They took some time, but they are so worth it! We ended up eating dinner and having these at a friend's house, and we didn't even bring any home. Everyone loved them!
     The main change I made from the original recipe was to use only salted butter. I just don't buy unsalted because I don't like the flavor as much. I couldn't believe how much butter I used...but that is why they were so good, right? But it's not like I ate all 16 cupcakes. I shared them with friends!
Cupcakes:
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter, room temp
1 cup plus 2 Tbl brown sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 325*. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar (Med-high) until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of the buttermilk. 
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling about halfway full. Bake for 25 minutes. When done, transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes and let cool completely.
Salted Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbl butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbl heavy cream, room temp
  • Melt sugar in saucepan (Med-high). Whisk sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes deep amber colored. Add butter and stir until melted. Pour in heavy cream and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Cut a small round piece out of the top of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1tsp of caramel. Don't be tempted to use a cupcake filler/decorator bag . I had caramel everywhere! 
  • Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside. Save the rest of the caramel filling for drizzle on finished cupcakes
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • In saucepan, stir sugar and water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns deep amber colored. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Let caramel cook for 20 minutes until barely warm but still pourable. It should be pretty thick.
  • In a mixer, beat butter and salt until fluffy.Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl, and add caramel. Beat on medium high until light and airy and completely mixed. If your icing is runny, refrigerate 15-20 minutes to thicken it up.
  • Top caramel filled cupcakes with frosting
  • Use leftover caramel filling to drizzle over frosting.
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