Friday, 19 December 2014

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cupcakes


I love cupcakes and I love a bit of icing, but I can't be dealing with those cupcakes where half of the whole thing is icing. Too much. So, if you are an icing lover, you may look at my delicate little flowers and spit in their tiny pretty faces with disgust, yelling "I can see the actual cupcake sponge! What is this madness? This is not allowed! MORE ICING! I IMPLORE YOU!" In which case, please be my guest, pile it on. I, however, shall maintain my tiny flower faces and will love them unconditionally. And drizzle them with salted caramel.

Like so:
                        

Salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes

The recipe for the chocolate cupcakes is originally from Hummingbird Bakery - it creates wonderfully light, moist sponge. 

Quantities: 12 -15 small/medium cupcakes

Timings: about 1 hour, depending on how many cupcake batches you do.

Kitchen Stuff: Cupcake cases, cupcake baking tray, piping bag and nozzle (whatever thickness your heart desires), wire cooling rack, electric mixer (or strong arms)

Ingredients:  

Cupcakes:
100g self-raising flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4tsp vanilla extract
15 cupcake cases
decoration of some sort if required - I used Waitrose bronze nuggets.

Salted caramel
200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
60g (6 tablespoons) salted butter, cut up into pieces
120ml (1/2 cup) double cream
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Buttercream icing
140g butter softened
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

Method:

*CUPCAKES

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
1. FLOUR MIX: Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl. Whisk together with your handheld electric whisk on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
2. MILKY MIX: Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps. Turn the speed down on your whisk and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing until smooth but don't over mix.
3. BAKE: Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched and a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before decorating.
*SALTED CARAMEL - with help from www.SallysBakingAddiction.com 
1. SUGAR: Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. The sugar will melt into a brown, thick liquid. Careful not to burn it.
2. BUTTER: Once the sugar is melted, add the butter. The caramel will bubble wonderfully. Stir in the butter until it has completely melted.
3. CREAM: Slowly drizzle in the double cream whilst stirring. Careful of any splattering. Allow the mixture to boil for one minute then remove from the heat. Add the salt and stir. Allow to cool.
You can cover and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Heat up for using in any recipes or cut off a chunk and chew.


*BUTTERCREAM

1. BEAT: With your electric whisk, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Sift in half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of milk and beat until creamy and smooth. If necessary, beat in more milk to loosen the mixture but you want it to be quite stiff.
2. SALTED CARAMEL: Heat up half of the salted caramel and mix into the buttercream until combined. Taste and if the caramel flavour isn't strong enough, add some more (but bear in mind you will be drizzling. Put the buttercream in the fridge to cool and stiffen before using.
BUILD THEM! Fill your piping bag with salted caramel buttercream and pipe onto your cooled cupcakes as desired. For flowers, hold the nozzle very close to the base of the cupcake and slowly squeeze the buttercream out until you have the size you desire, gently push the nozzle towards the cupcake and move it back to release the buttercream stream. I hope that makes sense.  Top with your golden nugget equivalent.
Heat up your salted caramel and using a teaspoon, delicately drizzle your cupcakes with salted caramel and then try not to eat them all.
Do this with a buddy - it's so much fun.