Sometimes you have a rough week. And and a result, you need some cheering up. Let’s say that week was so rough the normal levels of cheering up just aren’t going to cut it. Sure, girly moves are great and face masks leave you with a dewy glow, which is always a strong start in the cheering up process. But, what you really need is comfort food. And, I’ve found there is no better cure to rough weeks then homemade salted caramel. Salted caramel that happens to be included not once, not twice, but three times in this cake. It’s almost as if your week couldn’t get any worse, one bite of that triple salted caramel cupcake and it couldn’t get any better.
I’ve been on a salted caramel kick as of late. I know, the thought of trying to make salted caramel for the first time can be a bit daunting but the results are truly light years above anything you buy in a *gasp* jar. I won’t lie, one of my first times making it I burned it past the point of consumption but ya’ll the best thing about making salted caramel is if you mess up, all you need is more sugar and water. I think we can handle a few mishaps if that’s all it takes. It’s not like you’ve throwing out $11 worth of chocolate in a chocolate ganache mishap. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say Martha Stewart ain’t always all that.
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 3 Tbsp cornstarch)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Sea salt, for garnish
Caramels or Chocolate Caramels, for garnish
Salted Caramel Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3/4 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup caramel sauce
Salted Caramel Sauce
1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy-bottomed small or medium sauce pan. Stir to combine
2. Heat over high heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until it turns a golden amber color, 8-10 minutes. The sugar mixture will begin to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the correct color is reached and the bubbles start to subside.
3. Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream
4. The mixture will foam u and sputter, so stand clear and keep stirring
5. Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour the caramel into a heat-safe container and let it cool until it reaches the desired consistency or refrigerate until it is ready to use. It will thicken as it cools.
To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners, set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy,about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the caramel sauce, and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Fill the cupcakes liners 2/3 of the way full with batter (I like to use a large cookie scoop). Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gently whisk until combined.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat.
3. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler.
4. Whisking occasionally, heat the egg mixture until it registers between 155 to 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
5. Once hot, carefully return the mixing bowl to the electric mixer.
6. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture on high until stiff, glossy peaks and the outside of the mixing bowl returns to room temperature.
7. Turn down the mixer to medium-low, and add in the butter, a few tablespoons at a time.
8. Once the butter is incorporated, stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment.
9. With the mixer on medium, add the caramel sauce and beat the frosting until silky smooth.