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Caramel: Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

I am having a really hard time writing the intro for this post because I just keep staring at the picture and thinking of all the ways I could make love to that cupcake. Anyone else getting that?

This week is going to flow a bit differently than the past weeks but keep your shirts on, its still going to be fabulous! First of all, the post should actually be called “Caramel: Caramel Sauce” because that is the base of the recipe and really why we are all here today. But no one wants to look at a picture of a jar of caramel sauce when we have that sexy-beast of a cupcake up there to get us motivated! So sauce first, then cupcake. Lez-do-it!

 

Why I Love Caramel Sauce:

1. Uh, cause Im ALIVE! If you don’t like caramel sauce then you have either never had the good homemade stuff or you are just one of those people who likes to dislike the stuff everyone else likes just to be different. Fo reel.

2. I am all about food gifts and caramel sauce makes a fantastic food gift! Make a batch, get it in a jar and include a few recipes (like the ones you will find here, hint hint) or suggestions of how they can enjoy it.

3. Its relatively quick and easy to make once you get the hang of it. My first ever batch was a disaster because I was following badly explained instructions and I just didn’t know what to look for. Now I can get a batch done in about 5 mins and with my wonderful instructions, you will too!

4. It’s soooooo versatile. Not only is it going to be the magic ingredient in todays recipe, but it is good for so many other purposes too! Here are just a few examples I have tried: wear it like lipstick, use it like glue, fling spoonfuls at a wall for a quick and modern art piece, pour it on your ice cream, pour it on your spouse, the options are ENDLESS!

 

Caramel Sauce 

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbsp butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

OR

Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbsp vegan margarine

1/2 cup coconut milk coffee creamer (or soy or whatever)

How I Do It: Measure out your butter and heavy cream and have them ready to go next to the stove. Put your cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and watch it. When you see the sugar beginning to liquify (usually this happens in the centre first), get your whisk in there and start stirring. The sugar is gonna slowly start clumping and chunking as some of it is liquifying and gluing all the dry stuff together, this is normal! Just keep whisking until its all liquid with no chunks and becomes transparent. You don’t have to whisk anymore after that but instead just swirl the pan around a bit and pay attention to the colour. You are looking for a dark-ish amber-ish colour. This happens fairly quickly after the sugar becomes clear. If you let it get too dark it will go from “oh maybe its done now” to “holy crap I cant see with all this smoke” in like a second. So pick the shade of amber that makes you the happiest and go with it, its not an exact science but you do need to pay attention. If all this colour business is worrying you, I have photos of the process HERE.

Once the amber tone is to your pleasing, add your butter and whisk like crazy. Its going to bubble and spit and then calm down into a smooth, creamy looking caramel (magic!). Count to three and then slowly add your heavy cream, whisking again the whole time. It should now look like a slightly-runnier-then-you-would-like-it sauce. Pour it in a container of some sort and you’re finished!

**the process is the exact same for the dairy free version**

Caramel sauce needs to be stored in the fridge and I’ve read elsewhere thats its good for 2 weeks (though I would suspect its good for much longer, I haven’t tested this). Regardless, once its cooled to at least room temp it is ready to be used for the cupcake! Here is what you will need for that:

1. A dozen chocolate cupcakes made from your favourite recipe. Anything works from your great-great-grandmothers secret ingredient recipe to a doctored mix. If you seriously have no good cake recipes then look here for now and I will post one of my own whenever I get around to it.

2. Dark chocolate for melting. You can use chips or squares or whatever you like (I am so permissible in this post, aren’t I!)

3. Toffee bits! I know from sharing the Toffee Cookie recipe that depending on what country you are from these might not be available. Find something similar if you can or just leave them out.

4. A recipe of Caramel Buttercream, which you will find below (permissible AND generous).

5. Sea salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling.

Caramel Buttercream

1 cup butter, room temp

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 recipe caramel sauce (about 1 cup)

**this can also be made dairy free by replacing the butter for vegan margarine and using the dairy free caramel sauce**

How I Do It: Put your butter in a mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the darn out of it. Slow it down and add your powdered sugar and then beat it up some more. Speed it back up again and slowly add the caramel sauce (make sure it is either room temp or cold, do not add warm caramel sauce!), then beat it even more! In fact, just put this video on when you start and by the time its over, consider the buttercream to have been sufficiently beaten.

Now to assemble this sucker: Melt your chocolate in the microwave (20 second intervals with a stir in-between), turn your cupcake upside-down and dunk the top into the chocolate. Let it drip for a second and then turn it rightside up and sit it on the counter. If you tap the cupcake against the counter it smoothes out the chocolate quite nicely, if you need to. While the chocolate is still liquidly, sprinkle the toffee bits on top. Once the chocoalte is solid again (I am never patient enough to wait for the chocolate to firm up so I always stick it in the fridge for a few minutes) pipe a pretty swirl of your caramel buttercream on top! I use a Wilton 1M tip in a 16” featherweight bag, but I have been known to use a ziplock with a hole cut in the corner when necessary. Sprinkle sea salt on the top and you are officially a super-duper gourmet cupcake maker!

So how was that? Do you feel overwhelmed and violated? Or perhaps excited and looking forward to some sweet sweet cupcake lovin’ of your own? Well I hope you are feeling saucy (yesssssss) cause next week we are going play with this caramel wonderment even more…

Im going to go have some alone time now with my inappropriate food thoughts, see you next Thursday for Week 5 of the Caramel series!

 

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

PS – Subscribe to the blog (in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page) so you don’t miss any of the deliciousness. And you know, it would be really swell if you could all show Frances some love as well, seeing as she is the one giving us all the eye candy! Her blog is here and her Facebook page is here!

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  • October 18, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    Julia - Your amazingReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2012 - 5:35 pm

    Jacquee - Oh my word! It was very difficult to peel my eyes and tongue away from that photo! I’ll be making this alright. thx!ReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2012 - 6:06 pm

    dot - oh my crap. dericiousnessReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2012 - 4:41 am

    Lisa - This looks delicious! I’ve not made caramel sauce before – do you recommend a specific type of pan to make it in?ReplyCancel

    • October 19, 2012 - 10:42 am

      xo, Melissa - I’ve done it in a stainless steel pan, a dutch oven and in a regular non-stick pot. I own the regular pots and the dutch oven, Frances (the photographer) owns the stainless steel. I went with hers for the photos only because they show colour better, which is important be be able to see, but every other time I have done it in a regular old pot. The one time I did it int he dutch oven it burnt to a black tar (and those are the heavy bottom pots all the candy makers go on and on about!). So I guess the answer is no, I don’t recommend any particular type of pan, go with whatever you have and are used to using for all your daily stuff!ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    Leonie - Oh my… I follow you on fb and have been meaning to check out the caramel series but haven’t had time. This is now my number one priority in life. Like ever. Seriously… The hubby and kids need to find an alternative me. I shall be too busy “caramelling” to do anything else ;pReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2012 - 7:34 pm

    Jana - I also make my own salted caramel and it lasts forever in the fridge! Not in my fridge of course, but a friend of mine has had it for more than a month and it was still delicious. The cupcakes are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2012 - 4:34 am

    Ellen - They look amazing. and they sound delicious!ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2012 - 9:17 am

    Rawan - Is it better to use salted or unsalted butter for both the caramel and the buttercream?ReplyCancel

    • October 20, 2012 - 10:57 am

      xo, Melissa - @Rawan – I use salted for everything. Even when recipes ask for unsalted I use salted! I just think it tastes better.ReplyCancel

  • October 22, 2012 - 9:47 am

    maureen - Chocolate, caramel, salt. Speechless!!ReplyCancel

  • October 25, 2012 - 4:16 pm

    Caramel: Caramel Coffee Creamer and Scones » Buttercream Couture - […] Caramel: Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes […]ReplyCancel

  • October 28, 2012 - 2:21 pm

    Sharon clark - Did I miss something in the Carmel sauce. It only goes in the icing? I was hoping it would somehow be in the cupcake making the inside a creamy Carmel goo. I’m gonna make these anyway because they do sound great but I might have to Carmel up the cakes.ReplyCancel

  • October 28, 2012 - 6:29 pm

    Kelly - That photo on top has to be the most beautiful photograph of a cupcake that I’ve ever seen. I’m going to go poking around the rest of your blog now, though, so I imagine I’ll be seeing a lot more beautiful cupcakes. Glad I found your blog! :)ReplyCancel

    • October 28, 2012 - 9:46 pm

      xo, Melissa - Thank you Kelly! I am still just starting out with the blogging so poking around may not yield much YET but be sure to check back at least every Thursday for new recipes and pictures :)ReplyCancel

  • October 29, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies - This is the most gorgeous dessert I have seen in a long time. It’s almost too pretty to eat!
    Almost.ReplyCancel

  • October 30, 2012 - 9:05 am

    Liz from Texas - Should you let the caramel cool before putting in the glass jar? or heat the glass jar? im afraid the jar might crack or explode from the heat.ReplyCancel

    • October 30, 2012 - 10:08 am

      xo, Melissa - My jars are just sitting at room temp when I pour the hot caramel in. I haven’t had a problem with this but it couldnt hurt to warm them up as a safety measure!ReplyCancel

  • October 30, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    Chocolate Spiders (Chocrachnophobia) | Busted Button - […] Now if you want to see some UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS cupcakes- check out Buttercream Couture’s recent post about how to make salted caramel chocolate cupcakes right here. […]ReplyCancel

  • November 8, 2012 - 4:58 pm

    Michelle Brown - Just made these today and wanted to confirm the amount of powdered sugar – recipe calls for 1/2 cup. Using 1/2 cup the consistency of the frosting was way off. I used 2 cups and it turned out like a traditional buttercream.ReplyCancel

    • November 10, 2012 - 12:02 am

      xo, Melissa - Yay! So glad you tried them! I definitely use 1/2 cup, but whatever suits you taste is exactly how it should be! Baking is all about fiddling and perfecting something to your standards, if 2 cups is how you like it, then thats the perfect cupcake :)ReplyCancel

  • November 11, 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Dana Huff - I’m making these as I type. I’m at the final step…buttercream frosting. Not sure what I’ve done wrong. It is too runny to be frosting. This will run right off the cupcakes. What did I do wrong? Suggestions?ReplyCancel

    • November 18, 2012 - 8:27 am

      xo, Melissa - Ack! I am so sorry for the delay in responding to this, the blog was all virus-y and I couldnt access it!! What was the consistency of your butter when you began? Room temp? Was your caramel sauce completely cooled?ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    Alex from Mexico - I made the caramel sauce with unsalted butter and it tasted like burnt plastic, also I’m not sure how many butter bars are 6 tbsp but i use 1 bar,can i use margarine? And not sure also if i let the sugar (i use darker sugar not sure how it calls here) so many time but it never seems to get burnt or smokey, what did i do wrong?ReplyCancel

    • March 1, 2013 - 8:23 am

      xo, Melissa - Hi Alex from Mexico! I use salted butter in all my recipes, never unsalted but dont think that would account for a plastic taste. Not really sure what to tell you there. A “butter bar” if I am thinking of the same thing, is 8 tbsp and should be marked on the packaging to let you know this. Using more butter then the recipe calls for will alter the sauce. Margarine should never substitute butter in caramel. The sugar in the caramel sauce recipe is white granulated sugar and it’s not supposed to get burnt or smokey! So if it never got burnt or smokey, you didnt do anything wrong! There is a visual page for the caramel sauce here: http://www.buttercreamcouture.com/?page_id=826 maybe that will help.ReplyCancel

  • March 1, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    emily - amazing! i preferred the carmel sauce with brown sugar, and used more powdered sugar in the frosting. thanks for a delicious recipe!ReplyCancel

  • March 7, 2013 - 7:11 pm

    Alex from Mexico - Not sure if i use not great quality butter or cream but caramel sauce always got hard when it colds, like toffee candy hard, i read on some blog that had to put water on sugar at first so i got finally a real sauce and then use it with your buttercream recipe and got a less fluffy and darker buttercream but still delicious, anyways Im not a real baker just like it as a fun hobby and I try to cook recipes for my friends, these are my cupcakes lol http://i49.tinypic.com/sg0ps3.jpg hope you like them, and please share more delicious recipes, greetings from Mexico =)ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2014 - 8:40 pm

    Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes | Politics to Pastries - […] Buttercream (adapted from Buttercream Couture): 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 4-5 cups powdered sugar 1 cup caramel sauce (either […]ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2014 - 3:00 pm

    Tsili Wolf - Hello,
    Just found you and your cupcake recipe…yumm…
    Question-does the butter cream recipe calls for more than 1/2 cup of powdered sugar or just that? I am used to recipes that call for the whole box.
    Thank you
    Just like butterReplyCancel

    • May 1, 2015 - 1:45 pm

      xo, Melissa - Sorry, this is the latest response ever! I use very little sugar in my buttercream, I don’t like things overly sweet, so I would suggest just adding it until it tastes good to you :)ReplyCancel

  • December 23, 2014 - 6:07 am

    Kim Cerp - Can I just say that this recipe is AHHH-MAZING!!! It took me a lot if time, mostly trying to get the frosting right. I have never made a buttercream with such little sugar. In the end I did use more sugar just to get it done. They came out PERFECT!!!! See my pic on my Pinterest post.
    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/1200x/0c/8e/6e/0c8e6e3c1f802c0d73a4e3cba6e4300a.jpg

    BUT THIS CARAMEL SAUCE!!! It’s like a dream. Put it in strong coffee and whip up some milk, I think I’ve got Starbucks beat.ReplyCancel

  • January 20, 2015 - 2:45 am

    plasterers bristol - Hmm these look delicious, thanks for posting up this recipe, looks quite simple to make.

    SimonReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2015 - 4:25 pm

    Ester - Can this be frozen once the cupcakes are all prepared?ReplyCancel

    • May 1, 2015 - 1:51 pm

      xo, Melissa - I dont freeze anything, but my aunt always freezes my cupcakes (much to my dismay). I find it messes with the texture, but my aunt thinks they are just as good. So I say try it and see that you think ;)ReplyCancel

  • July 10, 2015 - 5:34 am

    Homemade Salted Caramel Turtles! | Cookie in the Kitchen - […] Couture seeing as she was the one whose caramel sauce recipe I had used in the past. Now unlike caramel sauce which has 3 ingredients, caramel candy has 7 plus requires like 45 minutes of vigorous stirring. […]ReplyCancel

  • October 1, 2015 - 6:18 am

    Cassady - Amazing! I first made these about 14 months ago for my husband’s birthday and can’t stop. He’s now had them for two birthdays, as has my brother-in-law, mom and basically anyone else I’m asked to bake for. I keep trying to branch out and find a new favorite, but nothing measures up. Truly the best cupcake I’ve ever made, and possibly ever had (though I’m a sucker for chocolate and caramel anything.) The frosting is so flavorful and not at all grainy and overly sweet like most buttercream. I use Cook’s Illustrated’s Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling recipe and finish them like this, they are fabulous. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • October 2, 2016 - 12:10 am

    Jess - Great recipe and very easy to follow, thanks! Loved the caramel sauce :)ReplyCancel

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