Two weeks ago it was David’s co-worker’s birthday. In the time that we’ve spent all hanging out together, I’ve learned that he loves salted caramel things and other desserts despite his claims to not really be that into sweets. Yeah…..right!! So in honor of the occasion, I decided to try making salted caramel and salted caramel frosting to top chocolate cupcakes. I scoured the internet for recipes for everything since I’ve never made frosting or caramel before.
I started by making the salted caramel, using this recipe. Can I just say how amazing this was?? I knew in my head that I had just put a stick of butter, a cup of heavy cream, and a bunch of sugar and salt to make this jar of deliciousness, but I couldn’t help myself — I was seriously eating it straight up by the (clean) spoonful. Sooooo good. It was the perfect consistency for drizzling too.
Anyways, after making the salted caramel sauce, I baked the cupcakes. Since I was already in experimental mode with the caramel and the frosting, I cheated and used my favorite boxed cake recipe to make the cupcakes, so I knew that I would have a sure thing even if the everything else didn’t go well. Once the cupcakes were cool, I cored out a small piece in the center, filled each cupcake with caramel and sprinkled with extra sea salt for even more salty caramely gooey deliciousness. I expected there to be a pocket of caramel, but it actually soaked into the cake (which was also really tasty).
Then came time to make the frosting, which to me was the most labor intensive part. I pretty much followed this recipe for the frosting. Confession: I usually don’t even LIKE frosting. I’m the one who always scrapes it off the cake. This one was actually pretty good I think because the saltiness helped cut through some of the sweetness.
While doing more research afterwards, I found out that the frosting with just sugar and butter as a base is the American buttercream. The frosting that I will actually eat is the European style buttercream which has an egg white and butter base with much less sugar (like Swiss meringue, Italian, etc.). Next time I have an occasion to make cupcakes I’ll have to try that kind instead 🙂 I also happened to have piping bags and tips (from a previous baking experiment) so I dug those out of a box and played around a bit. Yes, we still have packed boxes which will probably stay that way until we move again.
The lighting is no good, but here is the finished product! I found that chopsticks were easier for drizzling caramel than a piping bag. Plus it’s less wasteful, so there’s more caramel left over to eat with a spoon!
At the end of this 2-day process, all I could think was, HOW do those professional bakers out there do this all day long?? It makes me really appreciate the local Cupcake Wars-winning bakery, which happens to be 5 minutes down the road. Score for me and my tummy! 🙂