Sometimes, I bake because I have to. For a birthday, an event, a gift. Other times, like this one, I bake because I’m bored. It’s really a stress reliever for me, and it helps me to perfect my craft! But some people think I’m just plain crazy… and that’s ok too.
Whatever the case may be, I had fun making these salted caramel cupcakes. Salted caramel is one of those up and coming food trends that I’m happy to jump on the bandwagon for, because I absolutely love it!
While this recipe was by no means easy – anything involving homemade caramel is time consuming and requires your undivided attention until it is done – I was really happy with the results and the depth of flavor in these cupcakes, and would highly recommend them to anyone who is willing to put in the time and attention they require.
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, at room temperature
For the frosting:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place cupcakes (in pans) to wire racks and allow to cool 10 minutes; then remove cupcakes from pans and place directly onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the caramel filling:
Melt sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside. Reserve remaining caramel.
To make the salted caramel buttercream frosting:
In a saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm but still pourable.
Meanwhile, beat butter and salt together in a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, until mixture becomes light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar in 2-3 batches, mixing until combined after each addition.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until mixture becomes light and airy (about 2 minutes). If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens, refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
To assemble the cupcakes:
Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting. Reheat caramel filling (if necessary) and drizzle over top of frosting for decoration (caramel should be warm enough to drizzle but not hot enough that it melts the frosting).
Makes 15 cupcakes.
Are there any current food trends that you are taking advantage of? Share your ideas and recipes in the comments!