Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Completely Caramel Cupcakes

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do you ever get cook’s guilt? It happens to me all the time. Cooking is basically my favorite hobby, and I’m especially weird in that I like to cook things that I don’t necessarily want to eat. That’s not the case with these cupcakes, but I have been known to spend hours testing recipes for vegetable curry or big hunks of pork. That vegetarian shepherd’s pie I shared last week? I didn’t eat a single bite. I feel guilty for wasting time, and sometimes money, on making something that’s not practical, but I just love it so much, I do it anyway.

I really wanted to make these cupcakes for you, but I felt bad. They’re completely from scratch and a little bit on the fancy side. I had to cook sugar twice. I have to special occasions no celebrate, no excuse for making something so indulgent. I just wanted to make them. I’m supposed to be watching what I eat. I shouldn’t even be thinking about cupcakes, especially brown sugar caramel cupcakes with cream caramel filling and salted caramel frosting. But I couldn’t help myself. I did it anyway.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You should make them, too. This recipe comes from the brilliant Heather of Sprinkle Bakes, so you know it’s completely beautiful. These cupcakes do take a bit of patience since there are several components, but nothing is terribly complicated or fussy. If you’ve never made your own caramel sauce before, it can sound intimidating. You do want to be extra careful not to get any of the cooked sugar on you because it will burn like crazy. But once you do it one time, you’ll realize how simple it is and wonder why you ever paid for caramel sauce.

The cupcakes themselves are made with brown sugar to give them a deeper flavor. The cake is sort of sticky on the top, but we’re going to cover it in a cloud of salted caramel frosting, so it doesn’t really matter. Your friends will love finding a surprise of caramel sauce inside, and they’ll never notice you had to completely mangle your cupcakes to get it in there because they’ll be too busy making yummy noises and dancing with joy.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I think we all need to spend more time doing what we love. That’s what makes life awesome. I’m just going to go ahead and continue making you crazy, wonderful things. Thanks for giving me an excuse.

 

Completely Caramel Cupcakes
Yields 15
A brown sugar caramel cupcake filled with salted caramel sauce and topped with a cloud of salted caramel frosting. It's caramel on caramel on caramel forever.
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Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
35 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the caramel sauce
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the frosting
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons water
  3. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter, softened
  6. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 and line your cupcake pan with papers.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a small mixing bowl, then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium high for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until combined. Add vanilla and beat until everything is smooth.
  5. Turn your mixer to it'slowest setting and mix in a third of the dry ingredients. Add half of the buttermilk, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last of the dry ingredients. Turn your mixer off as soon as everything comes together.Scrape the bowl with a spatula and give everything one last fold.
  6. Scoop your batter into your cupcake pan, filling each cup half to two thirds full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the caramel sauce
  1. Add the sugar to a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk until it's melted and has turned a dark amber color. It will start to smell like caramel. Add in the butter and salt and whisk until the butter is melted. Finally add in the cream. It will bubble up and get stiff at first, but keep whisking and it will smooth out. Remove from heat. I like to pour the sauce into a cereal bowl to help it cool more quickly. Give it a good ten to fifteen minutes to cool off. Boiling sugar is dangerous, so be careful.
  2. Use a sharp knife insert at an angle into the top of your cupcake to cut a cone out of the center of the cake. Lift this out, pour a teaspoon or so of the caramel sauce into the cavity, then replace the cone bit back into the hole. The tops of your cupcakes will look a bit mangled. Don't worry about it. We'll cover it up later.
For the frosting
  1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat but do not stir. Let this cook until it turns amber and starts to smell like caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in cream and vanilla. Set this aside to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the two butters and salt until light. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Carefully pour your cooled caramel into your frosting and beat until combined. You may need to put your frosting into the fridge for a while before decorating your cupcakes, especially if you have a very warm kitchen.
  4. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake, then sprinkled them with some sugar sparkles. Frost and decorate to your heart's content.
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
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