Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake


i've never really been a fan of fancy cupcakes or such and have always thought them to be overrated. but recently i tried a couple of PHENOMENAL cupcakes that actually got me craving for them. They were from Marmalade Pantry (Ion Shopping Mall Singapore) costing about SGD$4.50+ each. pretty pricey it may seem but in my very honest opinion. a good cupcake does require a lot of work. probably less for commercially made cupcakes since things are done in masses but doing it at home demands for a lot more effort than imagined. NONETHELESS, there is immense satisfaction from achieving a moist, soft chocolatey cupcake and frosting it with the most yummylishess goodness in the world like a light and fluffy blend of cream cheese, butter, salted caramel and icing sugar. and then drizzle with more salted caramel and top that with some flakes of Fleur de Sel. ah delish! just look at that! it almost looks like a Caramel Frapp order from Starbucks and it makes me feel happy (:

i'm a huge fan of Brown Eyed Baker and was looking for a recipe to use up the salted caramel i made a while ago for macarons. so i was browsing her site for some inspiration and came across her Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake which simply looks divine~ she has really pretty pictures so hop over to take a look! her cupcakes are really gorgeous. :O 

the method involves cooking butter and sugar over heat which supposedly gives the cupcake a caramelized and nutty hint to it. indeed when i cooked the butter and sugar, there was a slight hint of caramel aroma but i was quite disappointed that it didn't reflect strong enough in the cupcake. maybe it was the way i cooked it. also, the recipe says to cook till mixture is smooth and butter is completely melted. as of melting butter, more often than not you'd notice the butter divides into a layer of transparent liquid (oil?) and a bottom layer of butter stuff? i'm not sure what it is. but after cooking for awhile with the sugar, they actually did manage to combine into a thick pale yellow smooth paste and i'm not sure it it's meant to be like that or i may have over heated it which killed the caramel flavor? i'm not sure but it didn't affect the texture of the cake i would think and it was still mad yumz. and i must say that if your'e a huge salted caramel fan, it is IMPERATIVE to top the cakes with Fleur de Sel (that is sea salt if you're not Spanish) to truly get the salted caramel kick. 

i converted her recipe from cups to grams and modified the recipe very slightly. also, i reduced the frosting amount - i wanted to 1/2 the amount but was afraid that it would be insufficient. so i did 3/4 the recipe amount which was honestly a lot more than enough considering i have a whole bag of leftover frosting now ._. should have just halved the recipe. and... on a side note, if it weren't for the salted caramel flavour, i actually prefer the frosting from my cinnamon rolls (which i will eventually post soon i hope haha) simply because it's not as sweet and i appreciate the stronger flavour of tangy-ness from the cream cheese rather than a sweet frosting. but that's just my personal preference (: Also, this recipe actually demanded a lot of resources. one whole block of butter and over 300g of sugar. quite a big recipe and i didn't halve it as i intended to give them away as gifts. for own consumption i recommend halving the recipe.

So here's my version of Brown Eyed Baker's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake (:

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes (Yielded 27) (Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients:
75g cocoa powder
135ml hot water
170g all purpose flour + 110g cake flour 
(alternatively use 280g all purpose flour)^
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
240g unsalted butter
370g sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
170g sour cream (i used light sour cream)

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 160ÂșC. Line standard-size muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth, and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4 to 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture, beating until smooth.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each a little more than half full*. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
^i used a mix of APF and cake flour simply because i was trying to use up the cake flour at home (:

*original recipe states to fill 3/4 full but my cupcakes overflowed slightly in the oven and 1/2 turned out more ideal. also, it might be due to my Rowenta oven which has uneven heat distribution for the conventional mode (top bottom heat) where the left side of the oven is hotter resulting in the batch of cupcakes on the left rising faster and taller and more uneven than the ones on the right. so subsequently i tried turning them halfway but the cupcakes were a little too delicate to be turned. maybe i should have turned earlier. 

Salted Caramel Frosting

Ingredients:
6 oz unsalted butter
6 oz cream cheese
90g salted caramel sauce
370g icing sugar

Instructions:
  1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes (i used my whisk attachment for my Kenwood Chef KM300 Stand Mixer but use any mixer). Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, drizzle with some additional salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de del.

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