Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

Where to begin?  My goodness, I love these babies!  I had been craving a proper chocolate cupcake with a salted caramel frosting for a long time.  I knew where I could probably buy one, but sometimes I get a little ticked at the steep price tag for just a “bite” of cake– especially when my kids beg for (and usually get) them every week.  I got to thinking, and decided to try to make them myself.  I combined several recipes, and came up with cupcakes that are even better than I imagined.

I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, but made it with coconut oil.  The cake is moist and dense.  I’ve become addicted to coconut oil lately (I’ve even made a coconut oil body butter–but more on that another time).  These cupcakes have a nice, subtle coconut flavor that blends perfectly with the chocolate and caramel.  Now my goal was to use a healthier fat– which worked– though I’m not sure the ‘healthiness’ mattered, since I piled a mound of buttercream on top.  Oh well, they are cupcakes, after all.

Now, let’s talk about the salted caramel.  Salt and caramel are such a heavenly combination.  So perfect.  You will not use all of the caramel, which is a good thing.  Just keep it in your refrigerator, and use later poured over ice cream.  Or drizzle it over a brownie.  Or just enjoy it by the spoonful (or maybe that’s just me).

And you know that deliciously thick and rich frosting that makes those specialty shop cupcakes so good?  Yeah, that’s this stuff.  It not just a buttercream, it’s meringue buttercream.   Big difference.  This one uses egg whites, but don’t worry, they’re perfectly safe because they’ve been carefully cooked.  They whip up beautifully and become a silky treasure when mixed with the butter.  Add that liquid gold salted caramel, and you’ve just made one of the most delicious frostings possible.

The Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Meringue Buttercream

(Makes 16-18 frosted cupcakes)

Salted Caramel:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 teaspoon fleur de del (regular sea salt or even kosher will also work)

1/4 cup sour cream

To make the caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup along with 1/4 cup water.   Gently stir them together, being careful not to splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350°F, or until the mixture is a dark amber in color, about 6-8 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye on it, as it can turn from a golden amber color to burnt very quickly.  Remove from heat and slowly add the cream (be careful, it will bubble), and then add the fleur de sel.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.  Or refrigerate if making ahead of time, then bring to room temperature before mixing into the buttercream.

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate (60% cacao works great), chopped

1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup unbleached cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 For the CupcakesPreheat oven to 350°F.  Line 16-18 standard (1/3 cup) muffin cups with paper liners.  Combine cocoa powder and chocolate in medium bowl.  Pour 1/2 cup hot coffee over; whisk until smooth.  Whisk in sour cream.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl to blend.  Using a stand mixer, beat brown sugar, coconut oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in flour mixture, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Careful not to over-mix.  Divide batter among paper liners.

Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 16-18 minutes.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely.

Salted Caramel Meringue Buttercream:

4 large (1/2 cup) egg whites

1 cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 cup salted caramel

To make the meringue buttercream:  Put the egg whites, sugar and salt into a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk gently and continuously until the egg whites reach 140°F.  The eggs whites will be hot and the sugar will be dissolved, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl of a very clean stand mixer.   Using the whip attachment, whip mixture on high until thick and cooled, about 5 minutes.  (Make sure the meringue is cooled to room temperature before adding the butter, or  the butter will melt and will not make a proper frosting).  With the mixer running, slowly add the butter to the meringue, one chunk at a time.  Beat until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed.  With the machine still running, slowly add the salted caramel and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.

Troubleshooting:  If for some reason your buttercream is too soft (perhaps your meringue wasn’t cooled enough), stir the buttercream over ice water; then beat with a machine until smooth and spreadable.  Sometimes buttercream separates – it will look like scrambled eggs.  If this happens, briefly immerse the bottom of the mixing bowl into some hot tap water, then beat again until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable.

To Assemble the Cupcakes:

After the caramel and cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, using a small knife carefully cut out a 1/2-inch circle midway down in the center of the cupcakes.  Fill the hole with the salted caramel just to the surface.  Place the salted caramel meringue buttercream into a large pastry bag and top each cupcake with a swirl of it — be generous!   Frosted cupcakes should be eaten as soon as possible, but will hold their shape for a couple hours.  Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.  Leftover caramel should be treated as gold, because it is that delicious.  Store in jar and refrigerate — it makes a wonderful topping for ice cream.  Enjoy!

Sources:  Chocolate Cupcakes adapted from this recipe.  Salted Caramel adapted from Baked Explorations.  Meringue Buttercream adapted from How to Bake.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today — hope you enjoy these cupcakes!

Laurie

Join me on Twitter

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Happy Spring to all!  It was such a lovely Monday in St. Paul.  The snow is melting and I can actually smell the “earthiness” as everything thaws.  Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the weekly snowfall that has blanketed the Upper Midwest for months.  (Ha!  After I posted this it started snowing and continued through the night.  Did I just curse us with another foot of snow?– Ed.)

I’ve had an amazing week– not earth-shattering, but exciting in my little world.  I finally committed to a MN Food Bloggers event.  It took place at Corner Table in Minneapolis.  Forty food bloggers were guests to Chef Scott Pampuch in his beautiful “farm to table” restaurant.  Scott is a chef with big ideas.  He’s taking things beyond supporting local, sustainable food in the running of his business.  Along with offering cooking and teaching classes, he’s also the founder of “tour de farm“.  This concept has people travel to local farms to get involved in and enjoy farm-to-table food production and preparation.  He recently launched a new “Farm and Table CSK (community-supported kitchen) Box”, as well.  It’s similar to a CSA (community-supported agriculture), but contains various meats, sides, mirepoix, and stocks.  The idea is basically to help you get local farm raised meat to your table.  It’s a nice addition to your CSA box or farmers’ market produce.

I loved being surrounded by so many amazing people who are not only involved in food blogging, but who also share my philosophy on food production and preparation.  It really helped validate what I’m trying to do through this site.  I’m looking forward to many more get-togethers with these kind, supportive foodies.  (I’m also looking forward to more flutes of Brut Cava).  A special thanks goes out to Stephanie Meyer for organizing the event.

Now to the topic at hand.  Killer Chocolate Cupcakes.  Why Killer?  Because it sounds better than the ol’  “Devil’s Food”, which is what they originally started as.  Then I tweaked them a little a lot.  The result is honestly “killer”.  They’re that good.  My husband says they might be the best cupcakes he’s ever eaten, and we did a cupcake tour of nearly every bakery in the Twin Cities this past summer.  How about that!  They combine the ideal amount of chocolate with a rich cream-cheese frosting.  They are made with cake flour– rather than all-purpose flour– which gives them a soft, tender texture.  That’s not to say that they’re not good, solid cupcakes.  These little numbers are still dense enough to compliment the thick, heavenly frosting.  Hope you enjoy them!

The Recipe: Killer Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes:

1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate (60% cacao works great), chopped

1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable or corn oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:

1  –  8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.  Line 16-18 standard (1/3 cup) muffin cups with paper liners.  Spray with non-stick spray. Combine cocoa powder and chocolate in medium bowl.  Pour 1/2 cup hot coffee over; whisk until smooth.  Whisk in sour cream.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in flour mixture, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Careful not to over-mix.  Divide batter among paper liners.

Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 16-18 minutes.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely.

For the frosting:  Combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl for an electric mixer.  Beat on high until light and fluffy, a couple of minutes.  Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat on low at first, then increase to high.  When frosting is light and airy — it is ready to put on top of the cupcakes.  Of course, sprinkles add a lovely touch!

Source for cupcakes:  Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook

One more thought– thank you all for the wonderful and supportive comments last week.  I appreciated each and every one of them, and would love to hear if any of you made the tart.  Have a fantastic week!

Laurie

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: