Thursday, February 16, 2012

Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Today, time was on my side.  I didn't have anything I needed to go to or attend after school, so I went home and leisurely began making these wonderful cupcakes.  I first saw these on the post from Sprinkle Bakes.  Don't they look glorious?  Well mine turned out like this


Not bad ehh?

So with all this time, I took my time, making sure the butter was softened and the eggs were at room temperature, the only thing that could possibly get in my way was Grey's Anatomy.  By now, you can probably tell that I am obsessed with this show.  It's on every Thursday at 9 on ABC.  So Michelle was coming over, like usual, and I figured I would have plenty of time to finish the buttercream and make the sugar toppings.  Seems reasonable enough, right?  
Wrong.
Because the buttercream calls for you to homemake the caramel before you add it to the butter and sugar.  And the sugar creations on top call for way more sugar and water than the buttercream so when you think  to yourself that "Oh, this won't take long, the caramel for the buttercream didn't," you, my friend, are wrong.  So while I missed the first 20 minutes of the two hour special!!, I did end up with these beautiful cupcakes that disappeared within 22 hours.  I'd say that was time well spent.
So first you make the cupcakes and let them cool.
Then, you cut out the middle and fill with the caramel filling.


Then you make the caramel for the buttercream.


Make sure you let the sugar concoction brown enough because otherwise, your frosting won't look caramel-y at all.
And make sure the cream is heated as well because other wise the sugar will seize up and stick to the spoon and your hand and you will almost ruin the pan if you didn't have powerful dish soap around.  Not that it happened to me...


Then, you make the sugar toppings.


Also, have a bowl of ice water on hand for right after the sugar becomes a deep amber color.


While your waiting for the ginormious pot of sugar-water to boil, 


you can frost your cupcakes!


Look how pretty they turned out!


And then you can make your sugar topping by drizzling it on a parchment covered rolling pin and let dry.


Or drizzle them into small discs.


And then top them! 


Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes
makes approx. 20 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick of 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

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale 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 about halfway full.  Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the 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.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


In a saucepan, stir together granulated 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 and still pourable.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 

Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting.


Candied Salted Caramel Rounds

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup water
2-4 tablespoons of large-crystal sugar

Lay out a large piece of parchment on your work surface and spray with cooking oil (such as canola). Fill a large tub (or your sink) partially full of ice water.

Put sugar, salt and cold water in a heavy pan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil.  Lower heat slightly and swirl the pan once or twice as the syrup caramelizes so it will color evenly; do not stir.  When the caramel is deep amber, plunge the base of the pan into ice water for about 2 seconds to stop further cooking.

Working quickly, dip a spoon in the caramel and let it fall onto the parchment paper in a drizzle.  Move the spoon in a circular motion as the syrup falls from the spoon. Repeat 15 times.  When caramel has hardened (it will still be sticky) sprinkle on the large-crystal sugar.  Remove from paper and adorn cupcakes.


Enjoy!

Recipe Courtesy of Sprinkle Bakes Blog.