Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

I made two dozen cupcakes this morning for my parents to take to their horse club meeting this evening. My dad requested a dozen margarita cupcakes, his favorite, and I got to choose the other flavor. I've been wanting to try some different peachy cupcakes since peaches are in season now, but it just seemed wrong to not have a chocolate option, so I went with something else I've been wanting to try for a while: chocoalte salted-caramel cupcakes. YUM.

The original plan was to just have a chocolate cupcake with a salted caramel buttercream frosting. Then I thought it would be fun to have a caramel center. Then I thought, well, if I'm adding more caramel, I probably ought to add more chocolate somehow (because we all know more chocolate is never a bad idea). So, I started with
Martha's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. To get my extra chocolate in there, I made a quick ganache and coated the cupcakes in it.

Ganache bath! Yay! Mmmmmmmmm :) I didn't want to take the time to spread the ganache on the cupcakes, so I just dunked 'em in and swirled 'em around.

Next order of business was to make the caramel filling.

Nice smooth caramel. Yummy! I also made some fancy decorations using caramelized sugar, something else I've been wanting to try for a while. It so happened that the blogger from whom I took the salted caramel buttercream recipe had made sugar decorations for her cupcakes, which reminded me, hey! I wanna do that too! So I did.

I made sugar stars for half the cupcakes, and poured the rest of the sugar out flat to set. When it was hard, I broke it up into pieces and put it into the food processor to make caramel dust, which looks like gold dust, and which, since I had star cupcakes, I deemed "star dust." :) I sprinkled this on the other 6 cupcakes. [Btw, I got that technique from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible, which I very highly recommend to anyone interested in baking.] Anyway, I piped some caramel into the center of each cupcake then piped on some frosting and stuck my decorations on there like so:

Et voila! Beautiful chocolate salted-caramel cupcakes! I must make a note about the frosting. I used this recipe from Sprinkle Bakes, and it is simply divine. Sooooooo good. It's like eating a Werther's Original, except fluffy and creamy and way more amazing and delicious. The caramel flavor comes through very well, and the saltiness, while not overwhelming, is noticeable (which is good, since it's salted caramel), and balances out the sweetness very nicely. I love this frosting. Love.
Here's a shot of one cupcake cut open so you can see the caramel filling:

And here they are, boxed up and ready to go! Enjoy, horsey club!

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