I’m back with a cupcake recipe and this one is just as great as the last one. Salted caramel has to be the best pairing ever, just like Fleur de Sel and chocolate! I think everyone needs to learn how to make caramel. It’s really very easy. I think just the idea of making it is what scared people away! I need to get on top of sharing a caramel candy recipe with you here on the blog sometime soon. That will be wicked! I know there will be no sharing of those candies with any neighbors! My husband is a nut about caramel candies! He totally gave his stamp of approval for the salted caramel frosting that went into this recipe! He thought they tasted just like the caramel candies that he bought at the store. Now that is a win you guys!!
For this recipe, I used the same vanilla cupcake base that I used for the Lemon-Vanilla cupcakes. Vanilla goes really well with anything, but with salted caramel, it really hits the sweet spot! Also it helps that the cupcakes aren’t very sweet, so it is the perfect accompaniment to the frosting.
I’m totally kicking myself mentally for not taking process shots of the salted caramel, but I promise you an individual post on that soon! After all, every pantry needs a stash of salted caramel. It goes perfectly over ice cream. You can even make your own caramel popcorn with it at home (more on that another day!!!).
These cupcakes need to be generously frosted with this insane salted caramel buttercream frosting! To take it all home, drizzle some extra caramel on top of the frosting. Peerrfect!!
- 2½ cups flour
- 2½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
- 11/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2½ tsp vanilla
- 1¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, soft
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup salted caramel (if you want it sweeter, feel free to add some more)
- Before you begin, get all your ingredients ready and have them waiting near your stove-top. The caramel comes together very fast, so you do not want to be looking for the ingredients. The sugar might burn!
- Place a heavy-bottomed 2 or 3 qt. saucepan over medium-high heat and sprinkle about a tablespoon of the sugar into the bottom. You’d need a bigger saucepan since the caramel might foam up after you add caramel. You don’t want it to spill over!
- Lift the pan over the heat and shake/swirl the sugar until it starts to melt. Continue swirling the pan around until the sugar is all clump-free and melted.
- Sprinkle some more sugar on top and repeat the “swirl and shake” over the heat until the new sugar is incorporated and melted into the first batch. (The sugar will start to caramelize at this point which is why you want to lift if off the heat, preventing it from burning.)
- Repeat the previous step with the remaining sugar, sprinkling a little at a time until it is all melted and a dark amber color.
- Add the butter and whisk until totally melted and combined.
- Remove from heat and slowly stream the cream into the caramel. (It may seize up and foam a bit! Its OK, just keep whisking over low heat.) Whisk it rapidly until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and sea salt.
- Pour caramel in a glass jar or measuring cup and allow to cool completely! Do not add hot or warm caramel to the frosting.
For the cupcakes
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
- Stir the vanilla into the milk.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Fill liners about ⅔ of the way. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick interred into one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Always cool 100% before frosting. Once the cupcakes are frosted, drizzle some left over salted caramel sauce.
- Cream together the butter and powdered sugar, a cup at a time. Start with 2 cups and add more depending on how stiff you want it to be. Keep in mind that the caramel will also have to added next which will loosen out the frosting slightly. Mix in the salted caramel.