Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First try of Salted Caramel Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Buttercream, Garnished with a Caramel Piece

I have been seeing a lot of recipes lately using Salted Caramel Frosting. I have always thought to myself that it must taste disgusting! Why would you want a cupcake to have salt as a main flavor?

Well....I was wrong! By request, I made a salted caramel buttercream, and actually LOVED it! Up until the frosting was done, I was freaking out about them being inedible. Since they were not for me, I had no plan B if they turned out bad. Luckily, they didn't!

I used my go-to chocolate cupcake (recipe posted here). But, instead of my usual chocolate flavored coffee, I used a Caramel Drizzle flavored coffee:

This coffee is amazing on its own, and I thought it would make the chocolate cake go that much better with the caramel in the frosting!

Another issue I ran into: The dreaded moment when you are in the middle of a recipe and reach in the cabinet only to find what you need isn't there!! I was out of bittersweet chocolate. But, since I was not going back to the store (I had been earlier that day), I used Semi-Sweet chocolate and Dark Cocoa Powder instead. In the end, you couldn't tell a difference. 

For the frosting, I found this recipe from Fearless Homemaker:

The first step is to make caramel. When I read that I thought, no biggie, I've done this before! (see my previous post from Apple Pie Cupcakes). Well, like the first time I tried to make caramel, I burned it! But luckily I had enough ingredients to try it again with no problems! 

One thing I can't seem to get is the "deep Amber color" that most recipes claim you need to get. Maybe I don't know what "deep amber" looks like because every time I wait for it to turn that color, it tastes burnt and nasty. I would call the un-burnt end product a "light amber" color.

Salted Caramel Buttercream (from Fearless Homemaker)
(makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. in a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar + water. bring to a boil over medium high heat. cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. remove from heat + slowly add in cream + vanilla, stirring until very smooth. let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm, but still pour-able.
  2. in a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter + salt together until lightened + fluffy. reduce speed to low + add powdered sugar. mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. scrape down the side of the bowl + add the caramel. beat on medium high speed until light + airy, + completely mixed (about 2 minutes). mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. if your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny – if this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
To make the Caramel Leaves:

This is really simple, get some of those square caramels from the candy aisle, roll em out with a rolling pin until they are big enough to fit a cookie cutter, and cut out the leaves. I used Wilton's Fall Mini-Cookie Cutter Set. I think they are sooo cute. To get the details, use a toothpick to make the markings, I also curved up the edges to get some dimension. 

The End Product!

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