Soft, moist and scrumptious Vanilla Cupcakes filled with Salted Caramel, topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and finished with even more Caramel. The best cupcakes you can make at home!
Here I was thinking that I don’t do pretty swirls on cupcakes. Have you noticed the absence of cupcakes on this blog of mine? Yes? Because I did too. Pretty sure I waited for the right moment, flavor and enough courage to try to pipe frosting beautifully on top of each mini cake. Most of you know by now that patience is not my strong suit. Making the frosting or buttercream is one thing, but I was seriously dreading the process that inevitably would follow next. The fact that I’d never tried my hand at decorating cupcakes this way before didn’t help either.
After procrastinating and avoiding cupcakes for quite some time, I finally decided that I needed to bake to the occasion ;). I carefully planned what I was going to make and settled upon Salted Caramel Cupcakes because it just made sense. Caramel and I are inseparable. And I had full confidence that anything involving caramel couldn’t fail.
It all started with simple yet amazingly satisfying vanilla cupcakes. That much I could handle. I was also confident that Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce wouldn’t be too difficult to pull off. You can find my recipe HERE. It’s a cinch to make and beats anything you can buy at the store. At this point I was feeling good. The cupcakes looked wonderful, were filled with freshly made caramel sauce, and were waiting to be united with their Swiss Meringue Buttercream friend.
Which is precisely where I started to get a little nervous. Whipping up buttercream can be somewhat scary. There’s a whole lot of whisking of egg whites involved and hoping that your buttercream doesn’t start to curdle. Turns out whisking of egg whites over simmering water (more details in the recipe below) is just another test of my patience and even if your buttercream does start to curdle, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. You simply keep beating it, it’ll start to properly come together again, and you’ll be left with a bowl of utmost deliciousness. Who knew?
It did take me a few tries to get what I consider the perfect swirl. I may have had one of the best kitchen experiences so far whilst swirling away. I didn’t want it to stop and by the height of some of these buttercream tops, you can definitely tell how much fun I was having. I now totally get why everyone loves to make and eat cupcakes. After a drizzling of salted caramel, I was ecstatic to take a bite and look for the perfect caramel to ooze out. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed.
Definitely worth every minute spent in the kitchen. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. This will certainly not be my last post all about cupcakes. Hope you enjoy!
Have a beautiful weekend, friends!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- 2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, mix in vanilla.
- 3. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively. Start and end with the flour. Be careful not to over mix the batter, but make sure no lumps remain. Divide batter evenly between the 12 cupcake cavities. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
- 4. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the salted caramel sauce.
- In a medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium-high heat, stirring constantly (using either a wire whisk or a wooden spoon). Continue to stir until sugar is completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Melted sugar should be a golden brown color.
- Add butter to the sugar and place a thermometer into the hot mixture. Butter should be completely melted and mixture should reach 350 degrees F. Immediately remove from the stove and sprinkle in sea salt. Give it a good stir and slowly whisk in heavy cream. Continue stirring until heavy cream is fully incorporated and smooth. Let sauce cool as well before piping into the cooled cupcakes. Fill a piping or ziptop bag fitted with a round tip with about half of the salted caramel sauce. Fill the center of each cupcake with caramel. Cupcakes are filled when you feel pressure while piping and once you remove the round tip, a small amount of caramel starts to ooze out. Set cupcakes aside.
- 5. Next, prepare the buttercream. Remove butter from the fridge, cut into cubes and leave on the counter nearby.
- Add egg whites and granulated sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer, place over a pot of simmering water (not boiling), whisking gently and frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot to the touch.
- With whisk attachment of your mixer, whip until the egg whites are glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral when touched (aka no longer warm). This took me about 14 minutes. Don't add butter before bowl has had a chance to cool or butter will melt and you won't have the desired outcome.
- Switch over to the paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a smooth texture (if mixture curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). If mixture appears to be too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
- 6. Fill a large piping bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe buttercream onto each cupcake. Drizzle with remaining salted caramel sauce and garnish with soft caramels, if desired. Store cupcakes in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Cupcake recipe adapted from marthastewart.com.
- Swiss meringue buttercream recipe adapted from sweetapolita.com.