Recipe Redux: Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

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Have you ever made something and then allowed 6 more years to pass before making it again only to discover one of the prepackaged ingredients has changed and you have to guesstimate? That’s what happened tonight while baking these cupcakes for a friend. The base recipe is relatively unchanged, but because Kraft now makes little caramel bits instead of cubes of cellophane wrapped caramels, I had to instill the help of my sous chef, aka Leah, who surprisingly enough, remembered the approximate size of the cubed caramels, and decided 14 caramel bits are equivalent to one aforementioned cellophane wrapped caramels. Luckily, she obliged and only mildly gave me a hard time when I requested she help and promptly counted out 210 caramel bits. Of course now that I write that, I realize I should have added all the little bits to a measuring cup prior to melting them to make it easier for next time. Ah, hindsight!

Ingredients: 

For the cupcakes: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tbsp milk, divided
  • 15 caramel candies, unwrapped or 210 Kraft caramel bits (I promise next time to measure)
  • Additional caramel bits, for garnish 
  • Sea salt
  • Sea salt

Preparation: 

For the cupcakes: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, & oil until light & fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well until combined.

Beginning and ending with flour, alternate flour and buttermilk, mixing and scraping the  sides of the bowl down between each addition.

Distribute batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or with few crumbs on it. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack completely.

For the frosting: 

Beat together butter, cream cheese, & vanilla extract until light & fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add powdered sugar & 3 tbsps milk, beating until well combined. Cover & refrigerate.

Melt the caramel bits and 1 tbsp milk in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, until caramel is completely melted. Set aside to cool. I have found transferring caramel to another bowl and stirring, will help it cool. You do not want to add hot melted caramel to your frosting otherwise you will have soup and need to start over! It needs to be cooled enough so that it’s soft and pliable. Using beaters, mix the caramel into the frosting; combining well.

Cover and refrigerate frosting for 30-45 minutes prior to frosting to help it set up. Frost cupcakes, garnish with extra caramel bits, & sprinkle with sea salt.

Note: Although I allowed the frosting to refrigerate for 45 minutes, after transferring it  into a piping bag & decorating accordingly, in an already warm kitchen, it didn’t take long for it to work against me. I say all of that to say: work fast!

Source: http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2012/11/salted-caramel-cupcakes.html

 

 

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