Monday, January 13, 2014

Salted Caramel Cupcakes


 I don’t really need an excuse to make dessert – but it is always kind of nice when I do have one. This weekend I had a work Christmas party to go to (gotta love stretching out Christmas into January, right?) and I was tasked with bringing the dessert.  So – I decided on salted caramel cupcakes because, well, who doesn't love cupcakes?  These did not disappoint.  The key is the dark brown sugar which gives the cupcakes their rich caramel color and flavor.  If you’re making them for a party, you’ll want to be sure to plan ahead to have enough if you have a husband or family like mine who tends to “sample” quite a few before the actual event.

I loved the frosting which was like a thick homemade caramel combined with the fluffy texture and sweet flavor of frosting.  For the caramel candies on top I simply cut store-bought caramels in half, dipped one side in melted dark chocolate, sprinkled chunks of sea salt on top and let them cool before placing them on the frosted cupcakes.  It is an extra step but I thought it was worth it because the chocolate caramels were delicious and gave the cupcakes that extra little look of fanciness.  If you are looking for a really easy way to dress up store-bought or homemade caramels, I recommend turning them into salted chocolate caramels – you could wrap them up to give as gifts or simply snack on them when you are looking for a small bite of something sweet.


Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Makes 14-16 cupcakes 

Ingredients:
CARAMEL CUPCAKES
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar
additional pinch of salt, as needed
caramel candies dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt for decoration, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, beat the butter and sugars together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until no flour remains, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly stir in the heavy cream.  Be careful not to over-mix the batter.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.  Bake cupcakes for 22-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting, about 1 hour. This makes 14-16 large cupcakes, or you can make some into mini cupcakes like I did (not pictured).  The mini cupcakes only need to bake for about 12 minutes.   

While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for 3 full minutes, no more. Remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl of your stand up mixer or other large bowl and allow to slightly cool, about 15-20 minutes. Do not place in the refrigerator to cool. 

With a mixer at medium speed, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Add a little heavy cream if you'd like the frosting a little creamier. Add more salt if the frosting tastes too sweet. Frost cooled cupcakes and adorn with salted caramel candies. Cupcakes stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

2 comments:

Leah said...

these look INCREDIBLE, Jo!!! and so do the photos! <3

MomBlogger94 said...

These were amazing! The frosting, the cake portion, it literally melted in my mouth and was like heaven on earth. This is the best cupcake I have ever had.