#Amazing #Cupcakes! (Chocolate & Salted Caramel) a la Jen’s Just Desserts
Tuesday October 8 2013
Yup, people have said these are LIFE-CHANGING CUPCAKES, even THE BEST THEY’VE EVER TASTED. There’s no real secret to this – just a decent recipe producing a light, moist, fluffy cake, that’s not overly sweet. In fact, the cake borders on savoury… with a bit of sweetness coming from the salted caramel ganache, & then complimented with a silky smooth & airy Italian meringue buttercream (IMBC) flavoured with a little salted burnt caramel. It’s a good balance of flavours & textures <IMHO> & once you get the hang of these recipes, the possibilities will be endless!
So here we go… a few special things you’ll need: CUPS, measuring spoons, a candy thermometer, & your favourite ‘fleur de sel’ or other sea salts… The rest of the ingredients are listed in the order you’ll need them, with the recipes they relate to. It might sound complicated, but I managed these two dozen cupcakes in about 1.5 hours, whilst doing other stuff in between…
I would start with the salted burnt (or burnt salted – ) caramel first:
- 1 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup double cream
- once sugar is completely dissolved & golden brown (i wait until it goes a bit darker, to about 360-370 degrees farenheit on a candy thermometer ’cause i like the ‘burnt’edness)…
- take off the heat
- then whisk in about 1/2 cup double cream & mix till all smooth & lovely
- add your favourite sea salt (s)
- pour into a jam jar & ENJOY!
For the cake, you will need:
- 2 shots of espresso, brewed, then add enough water to equal 1 cup
- 1 cup soured cream
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (the lighter the better)
- 2 large eggs @ room temp
- 1 vanilla bean pod (that’s pretty fancy, so you can use 1 tbsp good vanilla extract)
- 2 cups super fine sugar (caster)
- 1 cup good / dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup melted dark chocolate @ room temp (I used Lindt salted caramel)
- 2 cups fine flour (cake flour or ‘premium’ flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat your oven(s) to 350F/180C
Now here’s the easy part:
- Add all of the wet ingredients into your mixing bowl first & mix till all blended
- then add all of the dry ingredients: sugar / cocoa powder / flour / baking powder & soda
- Mix altogether until all ingredients are incorporated
Then I filled the cupcake cases about 3/4 full… & then bake for 18-20 minutes on the lower shelf.
The next part is the salted caramel ganache. Now this bit is totally extra, but I love it & it’s fairly easy, so why not:
- about 1/2 cup double cream to an equal part of the salted caramel chocolate (I used Lindt’s dark choc/salted caramel bar, about a bar 1/2, which I think is 150g)
- heat double cream til it just comes to a boil, then remove from the heat & add the chocolate
- let the chocolate melt into the cream for a few minutes, then use a spatula to blend the mixture until smooth
- allow to reach room temperature
Once the ganache is at room temp, you can simply dip your cupcake tops into the mix; it will only take a few minutes for the ganache to set before you can frost it with the IMBC.
So then onto the IMBC: I use “Mr Brown’s” which has not let me down yet. Just follow the instructions, but subtract about 2 tbsp of the butter: http://www.food.com/recipe/mr-browns-italian-meringue-buttercream-217454
Once your IMBC is “done” – add about 1/2 cup of your salted burnt caramel mix, and whip up until it’s all yumm-azing!
Use the nozzle of your choice (I used a 1D here), & pipe your IMBC over your ganache-covered cupcake.
Then, decorate as you wish. I’ve used a floral fleur de sel as the ‘sprinkles.’ All that’s left to do is to eat & enjoy, right!?
I’m hoping this picture does justice to how light, airy, fluffy, & yet moist this creation is, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I have over the years…