Sunday, January 23, 2011

Try 2: Montage Salted Caramel Cupcakes

So, I had the opportunity to try my hand at making these cupcakes again. For the first time ever, I was asked to make cupcakes for a coworker's dinner party.  I could not have been more excited!  True I bake a lot but, normally it is because I am in the mood or because someone in my office is having a birthday.  But this time, these were requested and I wanted to improve on the ones I made two weeks ago.  I wanted lighter and fluffier cupcakes that were still moist and delicious.   These turned out just the way I wanted!

Butter and sugar creamed together, will not be completely smooth.  Think about when you make a cake from a box, this batter may have lumps.

The cupcakes should bake until golden brown.  I over course choose only the prettiest ones to give for the dinner party.

Butter, sea salt and powdered sugar blended together.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend in the caramel and you have fluffy salted caramel frosting. Yum!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting and Salted Chocolate pieces:
Vanilla Cupcakes: (makes about 30 cupcakes)
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
10 caramels, cut in 3rds and coated in extra cake flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pan with liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
3. In another large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar
4. Add in eggs one at a time to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition.  Then whisk in the vanilla.
5. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet ingredients, alternating between the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
6. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and place a flour coated caramel piece in the center of each cupcake.  Then fill the cupcakes 1/4 more, till the liners are 3/4 full.
7. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Buttercream: (courtesy of:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar

1. 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 about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.
2. With a hand mixer, beat softened butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Srape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed. 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. Frost cupcakes once fully cooled. Do not stick these cupcakes in the refrigerator to store, simply store in an airtight container and room temp.

Salted Chocolate:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Using a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring slowly and making sure not to burn.
2. Pour melted chocolate on to a jelly roll pan or any flat pan that is small enough to fit in the freezer but still a good size. Spread chocolate using a spatula, cover the pan until the chocolate layer is approximately 1 millimeter thick. Cover evenly with sea salt and place in freezer for between 25 minutes to an hour.
3. Remove from freezer and cut chocolate using a pizza cutter in desired shapes and sizes; place on top of frosted cupcakes. Enjoy!

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