For her birthday, one of my coworkers was specific with her flavour request - she wanted chocolate and salted caramel. (I'll forever be chuffed at how excited she was that I would be making her birthday treats! She said that she'd be thinking about what to request ever since she started working with me!)
I decided to change things up a bit and do some funky cupcakes with a gooey salted caramel centre. I love how these turned out - the cupcake itself was perfectly moist, the buttercream turned out beautifully and it was heaps of fun to inject the cupcakes with the salted caramel! I hope you enjoy these creations as much as I did.
Ingredients - 24 cupcakes (recipe adapted from: Carla's Confections via Bits of Sunshine)
500g white sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarb soda
250mL buttermilk (can substitute 250mL milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice)
125mL vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup hot coffee (I used instant coffee and hot water)
Ingredients - caramel buttercream (recipe adapted from: I Heart Eating)
125mL salted caramel
1 tsp vanilla essence
415g icing sugar
Dash of cream if required to make it more pipe-able
Ingredients and method for caramel - use my caramel recipe here. It's best to make the caramel in advance and let it cool while you do other things. You can even make it a day or two beforehand.
To transform it from ordinary caramel to salted, I added a generous helping of salt to taste. If I measured it, it was probably about 2 teaspoons, but you can go more or less if you wish!
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F), and prepare muffin tins with patty pans.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and bicarb soda) in one bowl.
3. Combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl. Keep the coffee separate.
4. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture a bit at a time.
5. Finally, stir the coffee into the batter. It will be very liquid at this point.
6. Fill the cupcake liners with the batter to about 2/3 full. These cupcakes rise a lot, so err on the side of caution! I use a piping bag to do this.
7. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 - 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool.
Method - caramel buttercream
1. Cream the butter until smooth.
2. Add the caramel and vanilla, beat until combined.
3. Add the icing sugar about 1 cup at a time, beating in between additions. I sifted the icing sugar for ensured smoothness.
4. Taste test to make sure that it's caramel-y enough; if it's not, just add a little more caramel!
5. If the buttercream is too stiff, add 1 tbsp cream and beat until smooth. Repeat this step until you reach the desired consistency. If you're spreading the icing rather than piping it, you can afford to make it softer, but make sure it will be able to hold its shape if you're piping!
1. Make sure your cupcakes are completely cool.
2. Pour some of the salted caramel into a small piping bag with a small piping tip. Stab the piping tip into the centre of the cupcakes and squeeze the caramel in; I squeezed until I could see the cupcake start to inflate with the volume of caramel. Don't worry if it oozes out the top a bit, the caramel all soaks in to the cake to give a gooey centre.
3. Use the caramel buttercream to ice your cupcakes in any way you desire. I went for my usual piping bag with a star tip.
These cupcakes are very moist, and the caramel inside them is soft and gooey, so I recommend using plates and forks to eat them!