Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

Hello everyone! I LOVE August!!! You know why? Because there are four coworker birthdays this month, including my own :D That means I get to roll up my sleeves and try their requested cupcake recipes from the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes recipe book. This week was Lori’s big 5-0 birthday! *She can kick!* (haha sorry, inside joke), and being a chocolate and caramel lover, she chose this recipe as soon as she saw it.
I must confess though, I did have a mishap when I was making this cupcake last night. The original recipe calls for the Salted Caramel Filling recipe, included in the recipe book…  Well, let’s just say that the attempt was made and that I had the best of intentions to make homemade caramel, but that is not what I had in the end. You see, I was caramelizing the sugar and monitoring the temperature… and all of a sudden the sugar burned! Well, at that time I didn’t realize that had happened yet, but then I went to taste it when all was said and done and it was… BITTER. Yuck! By then it was late in the night, and my wonderful husband offered this golden nugget: why not use some caramel topping we had? Bingo! Caramel topping it is. I will, however, attempt to make this caramel again, and when I get it right, I’ll post it here. That is a promise!
But other than the problematic caramel filling, everything else worked great! The cupcake turned out very moist and a little dense, which was perfect for the caramel filling. The frosting was almost like a mousse; very creamy and fluffy!

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes
Makes about 22 cupcakes

Cupcake ingredients:
1 ½ cups AP flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/ ½ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup warm water

Cupcake directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a separate bowl, sift and whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a mixing bowl set with the paddle attachment, add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and the water and mix it all for about one minute on medium speed. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the liquids while mixing on slow speed. Beat until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2.    Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

12oz best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Guiradelli = 4 oz bittersweet, 8oz semi-sweet)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup boiling water
4 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt

A tip to melt the chocolate: Place finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water (make sure to not let ANY of the water touch the chocolate). Heat until chocolate is almost melted, then stir with a flexible spatula until completely melted. Remove bowl from pan, and let chocolate cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes before using (Oh, and you can use the boiled water for the frosting! Double use!!)

Directions for Frosting:
Combine cocoa powder and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved completely. With an electric mixer set with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If the frosting seems too runny, place it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes , then beat them again for another minute.

Do you see the gooey center oozing out?! 
Look below to see who could just NOT resist this...

To assemble cupcakes

One jar of your favorite caramel topping
Sea salt, preferably fleur de sel, for garnish

1.    Using a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about ½ inch deep) from the center of each cupcake (discard, i.e. eat, pieces). Spoon 1-2 tsps caramel topping into each hollowed-out cupcake. sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.
2.    Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with frosting, and pipe frosting onto each cupcake. garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt (optional). 

My daughter just couldn't resist the caramel and helped herself to a taste :)


  1. Holy temptation Batman! These look so perfect! The chocolate topping is so glossy and perfect - would you say they were easy to make?

  2. This was a very simple frosting recipe to make. When I added the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mix, it did seem runny, but then I added the frosting to the fridge for about 10 minutes and it made the works of difference. But I think it is because I didn't wait until the melted chocolate was completely cool... So you may not need to refrigerate the frosting at all!

  3. I get frustrated when a recipe doesn't turn out as planned, but like you, I learn to make the best of it and I promise to try again! These cupcakes look so tasty...they turned out great. Thank you for sharing another delightful treat. I hope you had a great Tuesday. I'm looking forward to an evening of good food and baking. Take care and much love.

  4. I can never fill cupcakes without the cupcake itself becoming completely soggy. No idea what I'm doing wrong :(