Mmmm cupcakes. Cupcakes are why I love birthdays. This time the flavour was a difficult choice, but I have seen a lot of salted caramel recipes around lately, it's clearly the newest craze. In my file of recipes to try there are salted caramel brownies, cupcakes, ice-cream, even hot chocolate. So I finally decided on chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting and more caramel on top. I forgot the salted part, but they were amazing without the caramel being salted. Baking the cupcakes really cheered me up after a long week, but probably as a result of my long week I made a few stupid mistakes. I tried a caramel recipe from The Baker Chick to begin with and I burn the sugar - the resulting caramel tasted awful! So I threw it out and tried again. The next recipe, from Bird On A Cake, was much better. However, I nearly ran out of butter by the time I got around to making the frosting and that was when I realised that I had put way too much butter in the cupcakes. That is why you should always weigh stuff. Somehow I had just gotten completely confused and forgotten how much a pat of butter weighed, for some reason I thought it was 250 grams but really it's 500 grams. So my cupcakes had twice the amount of butter than they should have. It just goes to show that while baking is a precise thing, you can also fuck it up and things will still turn out fine. The cupcakes were dense and brownie-like, the frosting was really delicious and the caramel sauce on top made them look really pretty.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Place the butter and the sugar in a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce-pan and turn the heat to medium. When the two have melted together, let the mixture simmer (stirring) for about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream as you stir. When it has been incorporated into a smooth mixture, let the caramel cool. You need it to cool completely before you make the frosting so it is good to make the caramel first.
Cupcakes:250 grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons chocolate instant pudding powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup milk
Next make the cupcakes. First you need to heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners.
Soften the butter in a large bowl, then add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the vanilla, the instant pudding powder and the cocoa and beat well.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the milk and beat again.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer can be inserted into the centre and come out clean. Then let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.
5 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup caramel sauce
2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the frosting, soften the butter in a large bowl. Sift in the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition. After about 4 cups the mixture will be very stiff - at this point add the caramel and the cream. Beat again and sift in more icing sugar as neccessary to bring the frosting to the desired consistency.