Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Caramel Filled Cupcakes
Caramel. It's like my Everest. I've always wanted to try making it, but was so intimidated by it that I couldn't bring myself to do it. First, there's the hot molten sugar to deal with. Hmm, I don't like the sound of anything "molten." Then, you're supposed to add cream and I've heard that, once you do, the whole mixture starts spitting and spattering angrily at you. Well, that can't be good. Not to mention all that talk of the sugar mixture "seizing". What's a girl to do? There's only one thing to do - face that fear and laugh, or something like that.
At any rate, I was tired of staring longingly at the pictures of these Caramel Cupcakes on the blog "In the Pink and Green." I wanted to make them and to do that, I was going to have to make some caramel once and for all.
If any of you are like me and fear caramel, then this is the recipe for you. It is super easy and foolproof. You just need to melt some sugar, add a little butter, and then pour in the cream. I used canned table cream, which is thicker than heavy cream, so it hardly spit and spattered at all. And, there was no seizing either. I will admit that I had some crystallization going on (my fault), which led to having some hard bits of toffee mixed in with the caramel. Although I wanted the caramel sauce to be what we call in Hawaii - Broke da Mouth (which means that something is "very delicious"), I didn't want it to literally break someone's mouth, so I just poured the caramel sauce into a sieve and took those bits out (then ate them myself). Luscious, simply luscious.
Spoon a little of that caramel into these Brown Sugar Cupcakes and you're ready to swoon with delight. I finished the cupcakes off with some cream cheese icing. But, rather than frost the whole cupcake, I thought, why hide the surprise in the middle? So, I piped a little of the frosting in a ring around the filled center and left it at that. It was so pretty, the cupcakes looked like flowers. Plus, one look at that caramelly center and you know right then and there that you're in for something good.
So, now that I've got my fear out of the way, I'm definitely dying to make more caramel and soon. It was awesome!
Caramel Cupcakes (from In the Pink and Green)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. buttermilk (I used 5 Tbsp. Greek yogurt + 5 Tbsp. water)
Salted Caramel Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. salted butter, cubed
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting (by Sweet as Sugar Cookies)
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tbsp. salted butter
1 c. powdered sugar
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with half of the buttermilk, stirring after each until everything is combined.
Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with batter. Bake 20-25 min. until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the caramel filling: Cook the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking as it melts. When it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and stir until it is melted. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let it cool.
For the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese with the butter until well combined. Beat in the powdered sugar until soft and fluffy.
To assemble the cupcakes: Using a pastry tip, cut a small round piece out of the top of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with the caramel. Pipe with the cream cheese frosting.