Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Caramel Filling, Chocolate Frosting And Caramel Lace

It's that time of year again... the one time of year that Tucker will agree to make cupcakes. And what time of year is that? My birthday! I knew it was going to be hard to top last year's s'more cupcakes (which were seriously incredible), and I was tempted to ask Tucker to make them again, but I decided it would be best to try something new (for some reason, Tucker hates repeating recipes). I ended up deciding that I wanted to do something with chocolate and salted caramel because I love sweet and salty together. So, this is what Tucker dreamed up, and they were pretty incredible! We've also had some fun with the leftover salted caramel, making salted caramel apple muffins and salted caramel brownies.


Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Caramel Filling, Chocolate Frosting And Caramel Lace
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated


Ingredients



FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL FILLING
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water


FOR THE CUPCAKES
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup bread flour (yes, this seemed strange to us too, but we went with it)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FROSTING
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch table salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter , softened and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE CARAMEL LACE
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Instructions
  1. FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL FILLING: Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.
  2. Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
  5. Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.
  6. FOR THE CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  7. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  8. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one cube (about 1 inch square) of caramel filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
  9. FOR THE FROSTING Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of a double boiler. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Whisk mixture until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined. Beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined.
  11. FOR THE CARAMEL LACE: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  12. Heat all ingredients on the stove to 320 degrees (use a candy thermometer for this), remove from heat and immediately begin drizzling mixture onto cookie sheet making lace patterns. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the candy before it cools and hardens.
  13. ASSEMBLY: Once the cupcakes are cool, spread the frosting on top and garnish with pieces of the caramel lace.

Comments

Megan said…
Happy Birthday! Missed you at the Forrester birthday party... I thought we might get a chance to meet. :)

Those cupcakes look incredible. And I love your ideas for the leftover caramel filling!
meghann said…
i know i should be talking about cupcakes, but i'm really focused on your adorable psyched face in that picture. love!
Jessica said…
Happy Birthday!! I didn't know that you had a blog but so happy I ran across it! Hope you are doing well!
These are beautiful! The caramel lace just looks so amazing. I can't see myself making these but sure enjoyed looking at them. Like pieces of art.

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