Salted Triple Caramel Cupcakes

If you like salted caramel, I can tell you three ways why you’re going to LOVE this cupcake.

(1) The cupcake itself is… wait for it… caramel flavored.  A brown sugar and caramel flavored cupcake to be exact.  (2) Swirled on top of the caramel cupcake is a thick layer of salted caramel frosting. (3) Adorning that luscious frosting is a petite salted caramel candy.  It’s a triple threat cupcake.

Sweet caramel cupcake, thick salted caramel frosting, adorable salted caramel candy.  My taste testers (hi Erin and Megan!) said these are the best cupcakes they have EVER eaten.  Hands down, they are my new favorite cupcake as well.

These little cakes have been a long time in the making.  I guess you could call them my own personal Frankenstein.  I’ve been searching for the perfect salted caramel cupcake recipe and although there are some good ones out there, I’ve never found the holy grail.  I did find pieces and parts of different recipes that I loved and wanted to use again.  I guess you could say that I stitched them all together and what you see above is the delicious result!

I experimented with the frosting until it had the perfect taste and texture.  The recipes I had tried before were either too salty or not salty enough to carry the name.  I also wanted the cake itself to have a caramel element instead of just being a mere vehicle for caramel frosting.  I used a light brown-sugar cake recipe (which adds to the caramely taste) and added a rich salted caramel sauce to the center. 

Let’s begin with the homemade cupcake.  The recipe yields 12 standard size cupcakes – just enough to share with friends, coworkers, or your family.  After saving a few cupcakes for myself and friends, I brought them into work and they were gone by 9:15am.  Breakfast of champions.

The ingredient list and baking method are both very simple. Forget the boxed mix and make a cupcake from scratch. There is nothing like a homemade cupcake and these are just as easy as a boxed mix, I promise.

Today’s cupcake is caramel/brown sugar flavored. The taste of butter is an essential piece to caramel flavor, which is why butter (and not oil) is used. The cupcakes are very soft and moist because I use brown sugar to sweeten them. Brown sugar lends a soft texture to baked goods. Make sure to use dark brown sugar in this cupcake recipe, which has more profound caramel and butterscotch undertones compared to light brown sugar.

As a finishing touch, I added salted caramel rounds sprinkled with – not salt, but large crystal sugar (it just appears to be salted *wink).  The salt is added while the caramel is cooking.

Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar Cupcake
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 120ml water
  • ¾ cup thickened cream
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Salted Caramel buttercream
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups icing sugar
  • ¾ of the salted caramel

Instructions

  1. Salted Caramel
  2. Dissolve the sugar into the water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and let it bubble away over a medium heat.
  3. The mixture should turn a golden caramel colour after around 5 minutes. DON’T stir the caramel mixture – the sugar will crystallize.
  4. Once the caramel has reached the desired colour, take it off the heat and add the salt and cream. Stir furiously as the caramel will want to harden quickly.
  5. Pop the caramel cream mixture in a small bowl and put it in the fridge to help cool down quickly.
  6. Brown Sugar Cupcakes
  7. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  8. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
  9. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
  10. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  11. Sift the 2 flours and salt into a separate bowl.
  12. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
  13. Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  14. When cupcakes have cooled down, put approx 3-4 tablespoons of salted caramel into a small piping bag with a thin tipped nozzle attached.
  15. Insert the tip into the cupcake and pipe in a small amount of caramel into each cupcake.
  16. Salted Caramel buttercream
  17. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar for 5 minutes until fluffy.
  18. Add ¾ of your caramel mixture and continue beating until well combined. Remember to save enough to drizzle over the cupcakes.
  19. Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
  20. Finish the cupcakes off with a drizzle of the remaining salted caramel.

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