Recipe 18: Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Cream cheese Frosting

You have read the title, do I need to introduce this any more? Today was my last day of winter break, so I decided to spend it baking something amazing (and eventually cleaning up, cause you would not believe  what a mess I made). I did not follow any recipe, but decided to create my own. So here you go: vanilla cupcakes, with a cream cheese frosting, and topped with caramel and sea salt. This recipe makes six large cupcakes or twelve small ones.
What do you need?
For the cake:
  • Butter, RT* - 1/3 cup
  • White Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
  • Egg, RT - 1 piece
  • Vanilla Extract - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
For the frosting:
  • Cream cheese, RT - 1/2 cup
  • Butter, RT - 1/4 cup
  • Sweetened condensed milk - 1/2 can (which is about 200 grams)
For the caramel**:
  • Butter, RT - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Sweetened condensed milk - 1/2 can (the other 200 grams in the can)
  • Salt
*RT = at room temperature
** You could buy caramel, but home made does taste much better, in my opinion.

It really is important to have the RT products at room temperature, or you will find lumps in the cupcakes, which is definitely not what you want.

How to make it?
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. When entirely incorporated, add egg and vanilla extract, and mix again until completely combined. Then add your dry ingredients: salt, baking powder, and flour. Add milk at the same time as the dry ingredients. Make sure you mix until just combined, because over-mixing will make the cupcakes very dense and tough, which is not what you want.
  3. Now fill a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. I use an ice cream scoop to fill them with batter, but you could just use spoons if you wish. Fill the liners until they are at about 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let them cool completely, or you would melt the frosting. It is possible to cool them down in the fridge if you are in a rush, but I do not recommend it, as they tend to get a little mushy if you do so.
The frosting:
  1. Mix butter and cream cheese until completely mixed through and fluffy. This takes about 7 minutes with an electric mixer.
  2. Add half a tin of sweetened condensed milk. You will use the other half for the caramel. Sweetened condensed milk contains a lot of sugar, so there is no need to add powdered sugar to this frosting. It is not a very sweet frosting, but I personally prefer that. You could add powdered sugar, but with the caramel, that is going to be extremely sweet. Anyway, mix the condensed milk in till it is spread throughout the whole frosting.
The caramel:
Many people do not make home made caramel, but once again: it really does taste better. You will create a little bit of a mess if you make it from scratch, but it is worth it.
  1. Add all the ingredients to a non-stick pan. You can use a regular pan, but non-stick is going to make your life much easier. I do not have one here, so I did use a regular pan. Put the pan on medium-low heat.
  2. Key to making caramel: keep stirring. I used a wooden spoon, as the heat of the mixture will melt your plastic spatula. If you do not keep stirring, you are going to find thick slices of burned caramel in the end product. I even ended up with tiny little grains, but those are not terrible, as you will not taste those as you eat the cupcakes.
  3. Making this caramel takes approx. 15 minutes, and then another 10 minutes to cool the mixture down. Do not lick the spoon, trust me. You will burn your entire tongue (yes, I did experience that when I was 15, and I promised myself that would never happen again).
  4. You know the caramel is done when it is not runny. When you scrape over the bottom of the pan with a spoon, it should look like this:
Final touches:
  1. Once the caramel is cooled down enough to not melt the frosting, you are ready to finish up! Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag, and drizzle the caramel over on top. Finally, add a little bit of salt, just a touch.
It takes a while to make these cupcakes, but they do taste amazing. 
As I will go back to school again, I will now only upload two recipes a week. I love the positive feedback I have been getting from you guys, so thanks!

Liefs,

Debs.

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