It just hit me today that I only have 1 more day of school left until summer. This school year seemed to go by so quickly; I can't even believe it. It will be nice to have lots of time to bake delicious summery treats. I leave on Sunday for some East-Coast college touring, so no baking next week, but after that, I'm around for a while, so there will most likely be a lot of desserts. I bought some really fragrant nectarines today, and I'm dying to make something with them.
I decided on these salted caramel chocolate cupcakes because I find that combination really irresistible. However, I've never had a cupcake that was those flavors, and I wanted to try it. Caramel is one of my favorite candy/dessert flavors, but I didn't want to make caramel cake. I wasn't sure how the buttercream would hold up, with the caramel mixed directly into it, but it worked just fine.
4.25 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter; softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove from water and let cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add the melted chocolate until incorporated. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture has changed to a slightly lighter color. Mix in the yogurt until completely blended. Dissolve espresso powder into water. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the water, in 2 parts. Mix on low speed just until smooth. Line a muffin tin with paper cups and spray the whole pan with vegetable oil [to prevent sticking]. Fill each cup almost to the top. Bake regular sized cupcakes for aprox. 12 minutes, minis for 8 (depending on your oven.)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fleur de Sel
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved. Once dissolved, let boil without stirring, only swirling the pan to mix. Add salt. Once amber colored, remove from heat.
In a mixer bowl, beat softened butter just to break down. Add powdered sugar slowly. Pour in caramel until thoroughly mixed. Add more powdered sugar if the consistency is too thin. Transfer to a piping bag and evenly pipe onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, should you like.