This past weekend was another crazy whirlwind of activity featuring a trip to Cape Cod, a bridal shower and a birthday party-whew! We had planned the shower the prior weekend (in between coats of paint on the whale table) and had decided that cupcakes would be the featured dessert. So I found this amazing recipe on, where else, Pinterest from the blog Jan Can Cook (tons of great recipes! If you want to take a look, just click the link below : ) and we decided they would be perfect.
I mean, after all, who doesn’t love dark chocolate and caramel and buttercream and a pinch of sea salt?!? I followed her recipe (click the link above) with a couple of exceptions. For the cupcakes, I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge
and I added a cup of Toll House mini semi-sweet bits
into the batter before pouring it into the cupcake liners. For the caramel to put inside the cupcakes, I used good ol’ Hersheys ice cream topping-quicker and easier and oh, so gooey and yummy!
Just warmed it up in the double boiler and then spooned it into the little cavities
we had scooped out of the centers.
(By the way, this bowl filled with little cone-shaped fudgy chocolate goodness are leftovers- and fabulous dipped in the warm caramel for a snack : )
The Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tblsp water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 (1.5 sticks) cup salted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Stir together granulated sugar and water in small saucepan until clear. Heat in small saucepan over med-high heat and cook for 5-7 minutes without stirring until liquid turns a light amber color- do not overcook- it will burn!!! Remove from heat, allow to cool for a bit and then slowly beat in the cream and vanilla with a spoon. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed and slowly add confectioners sugar until it is all incorporated and smooth. Turn off mixer and slowly drizzle in caramel mixture. Turn mixer to med-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Cool until ready to frost cakes.
(Normally I would insert a photo here, but we were having so much fun I forgot to take it! So I am just going to show you some pretty garden flowers : )
The buttercream frosting mixture was pretty soft, as it was hot and we were down the Cape, so there is a lot of moisture in the air. Once I piped it onto the cupcakes, we put them in the fridge to firm up. You don’t even need a piping bag- you can just scoop the frosting with a spoon and plop it on top- the more the better! In the recipe it says to pour the chocolate ganache on the frosted cupcakes, but we just dipped them right into the bowl and allowed them to drip a bit, then inverted them.
The Ganache Recipe:
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate-chopped. I used the 10 ounce bag of Ghiradelli Square chips-perfect for melting.
1 cup heavy cream. 1 Tblsp Dark Rum (Optional)
Melt in a pan over low heat and beat with wooden spoon til smooth. Allow to cool slightly before glazing cupcakes.
For the final touch, we snipped some mini-marshmallows (snatched from the S’Mores Popcorn Mix- recipe soon!) into flower shapes and popped them on top of the ganache. Cute! (we tried to figure out how to cut them into starfish, as the shower had a beachy theme, but that wasn’t happening…)
So the shower was moving along, and the cupcakes were just sitting there lonely and forgotten, next to the lemon water. I mean, it was a wine-tasting- who’s drinking lemon water?!?
So my friend grabbed the tower and some napkins and started passing them around. Suddenly, the room was filled with “oohs and aahhs” as each person took their first scrumptious bite. The hostess declared that she would choose me for her Cupcake Wars team, but the sommelier’s comment was the best when she exclaimed: “These are life-changing cupcakes!” Now I’m not certain if that is the case, but they were a big hit! Don’t be afraid to try these, even if you are a novice baker. Perfectly simple recipe. Perfectly delicious. Have a sweet, sweet Monday everyone!! It’s especially sweet for me because I am on vacation…woo hoo!! Susan