The snow is pretty intense. It started snowing at 9 am yesterday and never really stopped. The drive home was not great. I went to the grocery store to stock up on baking essentials (and wine, obvi) just in case a magical snow day presented itself. Somehow I just don’t think it’s going to happen.
People were stuck on the roads for HOURS and there isn’t a snow day called in the evening press conference. What gives? If I was in charge (and I should really be in charge), I would call snow days all. the. time. It’s really about the safety of the kids; they shouldn’t be subjected to the dangers of icy, treacherous conditions. Safety first. Plus, they need to learn how to shovel sidewalks and make snowmen. Kids are subjected to too many tests and not enough fun days.
Rant over. I don’t even get snow days anymore, but I believe in them strongly! Clearly I could never live in a warm climate without the possibly of inclement weather days. There is something so lovely about stocking the kitchen with good food and nestling in for the day – I love it!
According to my dad, this was the best thing he ate during my December/Michigan baking spree. But I shouldn’t mention him on the blog, apparently it’s “not right to write about people on the internet.” Trust me, things got intense around the house. Luckily he doesn’t read the blog or even understand what a blog really is; no worries, I can hold my own when sparring with my father. He may complain but he still eats ALL the treats!
I’ve had many chocolate/salted caramel combinations on this blog, but this recipe is one of the greats. The tininess makes each bite perfect. There is a chocolate cake that is moist and tender filled with a salted caramel sauce. A salted, caramel, swiss meringue buttercream is a perfect topping for the cake. This recipe is a keeper; make it happen!
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Yield – 33 mini cupcakes
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
- Salted Caramel Sauce – Do the day before: Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to a medium saucepan and heat until it reaches a nice amber color.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and salt. Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Store in a glass container.
- Dark Chocolate Cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
- Melt the butter, chocolate, and cocoa together in a medium bowl in the microwave in 20-second intervals. Stir in between intervals and heat until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Sift together the flour, soda, and powder on wax paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk the eggs. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mix is light and fluffy.
- Gently stir the flour mixture into the eggs in three additions with the sour cream in between. Mix until just combined.
- Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Whisk the eggs until frothy and no longer gritty.
- Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they reach stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch; about 10 minutes.
- With the mixer running on medium-high speed, beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time. The frosting will look like its breaking or separating, but just keep beating. Beat in the vanilla and salted caramel sauce. The frosting will be very thick and smooth.
- Assembly – Use a paring knife to cut a cone out of each cupcake; set aside, don’t eat! Spoon about 1 teaspoon of salted caramel sauce into each cupcake, place the cone over the top.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a swirl on each.
- Store in a cool place, but bring to room temperature before eating for the tastiest results!