Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

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I would like to start off by apologizing to you, as I am about to introduce you to a product that may add 10 pounds or 5 extra cavities to your body. Thanks to the Pioneer Woman, I have discovered this:

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It’s CARAMEL IN A CAN. Absolutely genius. I forgot which episode I saw her use this on, but Ree Drummond, I thank you. I could eat this by the spoonful and this is always going to be stocked in my pantry from now on. With that, I had the inspiration to use this can to make salted caramel chocolate cupcakes.

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If you know me and the recipes I use, you would know that my absolute favorite and most used recipe is the Chocolate Cake recipe by Ina Garten. I have used it on countless occasions and it never fails me. With that, I turned her cake into a cupcake.

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Though the measurements may be slightly different, the process is entirely the same. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

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In a pyrex measuring cup, measure out the wet ingredients.

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Combine the dry and the wet, whisking until just combined. Next, add the hot coffee. The mixture will thin out and become watery. Using a large ice cream scoop, ladle the batter evenly into the cupcake tins.

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As it is baking, prepare the buttercream. Whisk the butter and powder sugar until combined. Add the whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy. Then, add in 3/4 of the can of caramel and salt. Whip until it is thoroughly combined.

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Once the cupcakes are cooled, you can frost them however you’d like! To drizzle the caramel, transfer the caramel to a glass container and heat for 15-20 seconds.

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Drizzle on the chocolate ganache and sprinkle on some sea salt flakes.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup good cocoa powder

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Scoop the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)

4 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

3/4 can of Nestle La Lechura Dulce de Leche (or any other caramel will do)

2 tsp salt

Whip together the butter and slowly add in the powdered sugar until combined. Slowly, add in the heavy whipping cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add in the caramel and salt and beat until fully combined.

To frost the cupcakes, you can use any kind of tip you would like. I used a 1A Wilton Piping tip to pipe a giant dollop of frosting on the cupcake, then went back with a straight spatula and hallowed out the centers. Transfer the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel in a glass bowl for 20 seconds and drizzle across the tops of the cupcakes.

Chocolate Ganache

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

1/4 c chocolate morsels

In a glass bowl, heat up the heavy whipping cream in a microwave until bubbly. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir until completely glossy and combined. Drizzle onto the cupcakes. Then, use sea salt flakes to sprinkle onto the tops and serve!

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Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

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I woke up today at 11:30am. It felt SO so good. There’s just something about sleeping in that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Super chill, super easy going, not too pressured to do anything. Another name for it would be a lazy day, and today was just that. For this whole day, I had seven tasks I had to complete:

  1. Finish an online quiz
  2. Finish a second online quiz
  3. Finish a third online quiz (a lot of quizzes, I know)
  4. Start, finish, and submit paper online
  5. Bake cookies with my friend
  6. Bake cupcakes for my roommates church
  7. Prepare valentines day treats

I somehow managed to finish all except task 4 and 7. In my head, I know I should probably get to the paper as my mental brain function will begin to deteriorate as the day comes to a close and the paper is due at midnight. On the other hand, my heart is telling me to prepare the valentines day treats (SO EXCITED). Hopefully by the time I finish this blog post, I will have motivated myself to do the paper. Given my past procrastination history, chances are quite slim for me to touch it until probably 10pm.

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Despite all that, I made chocolate raspberry cupcakes today! I had extra raspberries and could not bare to go through this valentine’s week without making a batch of chocolate cupcakes! I used the chocolate cupcake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and used Ina Garten’s Chocolate Buttercream recipe I typically use on all of my chocolate cakes. I added a raspberry into each cupcake and on top and the combination between the both is quite divine.

First, make the batter. I made several changes to the original recipe. One change I made was I used all granulated sugar as opposed to a mix of both granulated sugar and brown sugar. It would have been ideal to use both sugars as I love the way they fluff up the batter, but I ran out of brown sugar so I just stick with granulated.

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Whisk the sugar, eggs, and oil together until creamy. Another change I made to the recipe was I directly sifted all of the dry ingredients in and the gently folded as opposed to the original recipe, which asks you to do half a batch at a time. After most of the flour has been incorporated, add in the buttermilk. Another change I made was by adding coffee to the mixture with the buttermilk. I believe that coffee brings out a richer chocolate flavor, so I added that in to enhance it.

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The batter will be slightly runny but that is okay!

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Scoop the batter into lined baking tins, half way full. I used my OXO medium ice cream scoop and for each cupcake tin, did one full and one half scoop of batter. Do not scoop too much in as it will cause the cupcake to spill over. After all have been filled, I added one or two raspberries into the middle of the cupcake.

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Bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean. The raspberry will have buried itself and disappeared into the cupcake. Magic.

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Transfer them onto cooling racks. Allow them to completely cool before frosting. To speed these up, I placed them in the refrigerator. While they are cooling, make the frosting. Once the frosting is made, place a generous spoonful onto each cupcake and use a knife to spread it out around the top.

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Garnish with a raspberry and chocolate sprinkles and enjoy them while they last! In the meanwhile, I suppose I better get started on my paper…sigh.

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Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold until incorporated. Pour in the buttermilk and coffee and gently fold until just combined. The batter won’t be very thick.

Pour the batter into the liners – fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

recipe from Ina Garten, Food Network

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

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Vanilla Cupcakes and Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Besides my dog and my family and the fresh clean air of NorCal, I’ve also missed one other thing. My beloved KitchenAid. Oh how life is so much easier with it around to beat all of my egg whites and sugar together. I also had a 2D Wilton tip that I’ve been wanting to use, I just left it at home and was never able to use it.

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I was on YouTube’s homepage and you know how they have the “Recommended For You” section? Well, there was this one video of “How to make the Best Swiss Buttercream on the Internet.” I immediately thought oh how humble of you to self proclaim yourself. I viewed the video and the ingredients and it looked almost exactly like the recipe I used in the past, only instead of full butter, she used part butter part shortening. I thought that was an interesting mix and gave it a try.

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While I will say that the swiss meringue is quite nice in consistency, I don’t think that it’s necessary to use the shortening. Using more butter would have done the trick without having to take something else out to measure. Not only that, even though both are considered fats, butter is a lot better than shortening. The only thing positive I see from this is that shortening is cheaper than butter.

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After making the buttercream, I was finally able to play with my new piping tip. I divided the icing into three pieces, one to remain white, and the other two was for a purple and light pink. Swirl after swirl I wish I had made more cupcakes and buttercream just to play with. Ah well, there’s always next time! I’m giving these to my little sister to take to church to share with the youth. They butter like it (get it HAHA lol)

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

6 large egg whites

1 1/2 c sugar

2 c powedered sugar

3/4 c shortening

2 c unsalted butter (4 sticks)

1 Tbsp vanilla (I use more because I really like the vanilla to stand out)

On a double broiler, whisk the egg whites and sugar together until it reaches 115 degrees on the candy thermometer. The sugar should be completely dissolved at this point. With a KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk on high until it is white, thick, and glossy and it holds a stiff peak.

Turn off the machine and sift in powdered sugar. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer until incorporated. Then continue to whisk on high. At this point, the mixture should have cooled down. If not, continue to mix until it is cool. Add in the shortening while it is still whisking on high. Cut up the butter into pieces and add to the mixture ini increments of three. Continue to whisk until it is smooth and turns into buttercream. Add in vanilla extract and any additional food coloring!

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