Monday, January 28, 2008

Triple-Caramel Cupcakes

I am a baker who loves to be exploited.  As much as I love eating sweets, I would be lying if I claimed that this is the reason I love to bake.  I'm not quite sure why, but the two greatest reasons why I love to bake are: 1. Creating desserts is somehow comforting and exciting, so I do it to escape from my other life when it is being neither comfortable nor exciting.  2.  I love feeding people, knowing that they are eating something delicious, and watching them enjoy it.  These two reasons are so prominent that it seems that nowadays I rarely end up consuming more than a taste of anything that comes out of my kitchen.  And I am completely OK with that!  So when my roommate told me that she had a "job" for me, and that it involved baking something for her brother's pre-wedding party (the bridesmaids were all supposed to bring desserts), I couldn't have been more excited!  A chance to feed people I had never even met= Fun times.  
I suppose I was just aching to melt some sugar (an especially comforting activity) because I created these triple-caramel cupcakes.  The cupcake batter has a caramel syrup incorporated in it, which provides the cake with extra moisture as well as the caramel flavor.  I filled and frosted the cupcakes with a chocolate-caramel ganache, which has a slightly chewier texture than regular ganache, as well as a deep, rich caramel flavor underneath the chocolate.  And because my then double caramel cupcakes didn't look like they had any caramel in them at all, I decided to garnish with some simple hard caramel.  
For the cupcakes (adapted from recipes on cooks.com):

3 c sifted cake flour
1 c + 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c milk
2/3 c butter, softened
1/2 c boiling water
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F.
To make the caramel syrup, melt 1/2 c granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Once it becomes dark amber in color, slowly add the boiling water, and stir to combine.  Cook this mixture for 1-2 minutes, and then set aside to cool.  
Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl, adding the sugar gradually and beating until fluffy.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, and then the vanilla extract, beating after each addition.  Mix in the caramel syrup once it has cooled.  
Sift the flour together with the salt and baking powder, and then add to the cake batter gradually, alternating with the milk.  
Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold into the rest of the batter.
Pour batter into lined muffin tins, filling each cup 3/4 of the way to the top.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  
Makes about 24 regular-sized cupcakes.

For the filling/frosting:

12 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 c heavy cream
1 1/4 c sugar
4 tbsp butter

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put in a mixing bowl, and set aside.  
Slowly heat the cream and butter together in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, melt the sugar in another saucepan and cook until it is dark amber in color.  Slowly add the heated cream and butter to the caramel, and stir until well combined.  
Immediately pour the caramel mixture over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for 1 or 2 minutes, and then whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  
Chill in the refrigerator to set, and microwave to re-melt.  I filled the cupcakes using a pastry bag and chilled ganache.  Then I topped them by spooning melted ganache over them.  

For garnish, melt 1/4 c sugar, and then drizzle it on tin foil or parchment paper.  Once it is hardened, peel it off and arrange it on top of the cupcakes.  yummmm =)

12 comments:

JoytheBaker said...

The cupcakes look heavenly! The hardened caramel on top is a nice garnish and great texture variation. Lovely! Welcome to Daring Bakers!

Mary said...

wow, those are stunning. I totally relate to your reasons for baking/cooking.....but I seriously love to eat!

Gigi said...

I can totally sympathize with your reasons for baking. BTW, the cupcakes look stunning with their decorative caramel on top.

Deborah said...

I've tagged you! Check out my blog for details!

MrsPresley said...

you had me at caramel.... ;)
these look wonderful; i love anything w/caramel in it!

i just joined the DB this month too, just checking out everyone else's blogs, wanted to say hello :)

Astra Libris said...

Your cupcakes are gorgeous! Serously amazing!

I couldn't agree with you more about your reasons for baking - you put it perfectly.

I just discoverd your blog via Daring Bakers, and I'm so glad I did! (I'm a newbie too... :-)

Mary said...

these cuppycakes are so beautiful! wish I could have had a bite! I'm the same way about baking....I'm an emotional baker..when I'm bored...sad...happy...lonely...stressed,etc.

Mer said...

These look sinfully delicious!

Ooh la la said...

Hiya -- this looks divine, but what do you do with the egg whites? I just didn't see where/when to add them.
Thanks!

Allison said...

ooh la la- thanks for catching that! I guess I slipped and forgot to add that step! I've fixed the recipe. It now says to whip the egg whites and fold them into the batter. thanks again, and happy cupcake baking! =)

lara.zain said...

how many regular-sized cupcakes will this recipe make? thank you!

Allison said...

lara.zain - It makes around 24. =)