I’m a little bored of cupcakes right now. Only because I’ve gotten into a pattern of making a lot of the same recipes over and over because a) my husband likes them and b) they’re in my comfort zone. This time, I tried to get out of it. Caramel is one of those mildly temperamental ingredients that if you try to make it at home, you might end up with something rather burnt rather quickly. I was attentive enough when I made these because Pokémon Go hadn’t come out yet, so I managed to see the split second when my sugar water mixture turned from white to amber brown and knew when to pull it off the heat. Now, I can’t be certain.
Initially when making the caramel, I ended up with something very butterscotch-y/I will stick to your teeth if it’s the last thing I do-y. Through trial and error, and I was able to fix it up into something a little more drizzleable. The pleasant kind of sticky that caramel is meant for. And not too much salt. Gotta have that good balance.
The best part about owning as many recipe books as I do, is that you can get ideas AND mix and match from a few different books. Today’s recipes are from both whoopie pies and cupcakes. Sometimes going analog is better than trying to find just the right pin for the treat you want.
As an aside, I made yellow cupcakes instead of chocolate because I also tend to fall into the pattern of making chocolate heavy things. I mean, if you couldn’t tell already, I am a chocolate connoisseur. So breaking that trend is tough. Especially when it comes to ice cream. 90% of the time I get ice cream, it’s a combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Yum.
I felt like salted caramel and yellow cake was a really nice light summer combo. The vanilla frosting was a nice neutral way to tie both of them together too. I just needed something a little more than plain vanilla, and this fit the bill. If you felt like you needed a caramel creme frappucino in cupcake form, this pretty much nails it.
Yellow Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting & Salted Caramel Drizzle
Makes 11-12 cupcakes
What You’ll Need:
- For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter @ room temp
- 2 large eggs @ room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup milk
For the Caramel
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- Spoonful of sea salt
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2-3 tbsp milk/heavy cream
- (Cupcakes) Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a small bowl – set aside
- Mix the sugar & butter together until combined. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla & mix until all well combined.
- Alternating with the milk, add flour, then milk, flour, milk, flour – while mixing into the sugar/butter. Make sure to scrape the sides of your bowl to get all the ingredients in evenly.
- In a cupcake tin lined with your favorite liners, scoop batter into cups about 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake the cakes for 18-20 minutes – let cool.
- (Caramel) In a small saucepan/pot, heat the sugar & water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Do not whisk or stir this, just lift and swirl the pot – carefully. Once dissolved, this will quickly turn from white to amber brown.
- Once brown, remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. This will sputter and could splash at you, be very careful. Whisk this until smooth in texture and let sit for ~10 minutes.
- Take a spoonful of sea salt and whisk into the caramel, allowing it to cool a little more. If you find that your caramel has solidified, you can heat it up again very slightly so you can drizzle over your cupcakes with a spoon. Be careful not to make it too hot as it will melt your frosting.
- (Frosting) Take your softened butter and whip it up using a hand mixer, so it is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and 2 tbsp of milk or cream to start. Only add more cream (up to 4 tbsp if necessary) if the frosting is too thick and needs to be thinned out. Whip until frosting is the consistency you’d like it.
- Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes (I cored mine so there was frosting in the center too) and drizzle on caramel to your liking. Serve to no one and hoard them for yourself.
I would not recommend refrigerating these, just because I don’t think that would help your caramel texture. The original recipe for the caramel was 2 tbsp cream, but like I said earlier, it was just not the right consistency for me. The smoother and thinner caramel was what I was looking for – more syrupy.
I hope this is exactly what you need this weekend – some caramel goodness in your life. The good news is that if you have leftover caramel syrup, you can save it and put it on your ice cream too. Because you’ll need backup dessert when everyone in your house steals these from you.
Stay salty, my friends.