Unfortunately, I only have these two pictures. Yep, you heard me right. Looking back, it was quite irresponsible of me to only capture this amount. But really, maybe not. I mean, hopefully these pictures will have convinced you already that you need to make these. Because, of course, you do!!!
The Process: Admittedly, these are probably the most complex recipe I’ve posted yet. Even then, they’re not suuuper tricky. The cupcakes themselves are quick and easy to whip up…no butter in them means you don’t have to plan for letting butter come to room temperature (no butter??? yes, i can hear you shouting that! have no fear though, there’s plenty in the recipe still!). The caramel filling…oh my, now this is where you might have issues. I’m thinking I might have a terribly off candy thermometer, or maybe the recipe was just flawed, but the first batch was not good. It tasted burnt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a whole new batch…half a batch, yes though. Paying no attention to the thermometer, my half batch came out wonderfully. Oh, it was divine! The amount was absolutely perfect too. The frosting is also quite easy to whip up. I had gotten ingredients to make a full batch, but realized that it seemed like far too much (4.5 sticks of butter!?). Half a batch was the perfect amount.
The Verdict: YUUUM! I, shocking as it may be, am not a true chocolate fan. I have grown to love it more over the years, but still am not a crazy fan. However, these…these were good. Really good. Only thing I’m not completely pleased with is how the caramel hardened up…it tastes great, but I would have liked a more ooey-gooey texture from it. Oh well. Still great! Rob devoured his in about four bites. Let’s just say he liked it. Madison quite liked them, but noted next time she would prefer a little less sea salt sprinkled on the frosting. I admit I maybe went a bit overboard, but I personally liked the more hefty sprinkling.
Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Bake or Break
Makes about 24 cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup warm water
Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin pans with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.
Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.
Salted Caramel Filling*
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
½ tablespoon light corn syrup
3/8 cup heavy cream
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake.
Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized. (Note: Original recipe says to use candy thermometer and cook until mixture just reaches 360°…this resulted in burned caramel for me. It could have been that my thermometer is broken though, so just use caution if you choose to follow according to temperature.)
Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.
Immediately, spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.
Dark Chocolate Frosting*
¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon boiling water
1 1/8 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ pound semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved or at least a paste has been created.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture (note, this will liquefy the frosting considerably, but it should still be spreadable…if not, place in fridge).
Using a pastry bag or simply a knife, frost the cupcakes. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.
Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted, but you may store in a refrigerated airtight container.
*You may double the recipe, but the amounts shown should be plenty.
GO! Make these! It’s a great wow dessert for company, but hey, realistically, they’re going to please anyone. That means even if they’re just for you, they’re worth making!