Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

These were a bit of an experiment really. The plan was for them to be a "Hidden chocolate" cupcake, so there are Rolos, Minstrels and Malteasers in the middle of these cupcakes. However, they didn't stay in the middle and mainly just sank to the bottom and melted a bit! The salted caramel buttercream makes up for this as it lifts the cupcake and really brings it to life, whilst still being quite easy to make.

The vanilla cupcake recipe is great on it's own and is from the Hummingbird Bakery "Cake Days" book and the Salted Caramel Buttercream recipe is from the BBC Food website here. I'm definitely going to try and use this caramel buttecream recipe more in the future because it is actually delicious! I'm never normally a fan of buttercream because I can find it overpowering and too sweet, but I think the salt in this calms it down a bit.


180g plain flour
210g caster sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter
180ml milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted caramel buttercream:-
125g caster sugar
80ml double cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g salted butter
200g icing sugar
Chocolate to decorate


1) Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and line a 12-hole bun tray with cupcake cases.
2) Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl and mix until everything is well combined.
3) Pour in half of the milk and beat until it is just incorporated.
4) Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together for a few seconds then beat into the cupcake mixture until smooth.
5) Spoon the mixture into the cases until two-thirds full. If you want to try the "hidden chocolate" cupcakes then just add half of the cake mixture to the cases and place a chocolate on top then add the remaining mixture.
6) Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Salted caramel buttercream:-
1) Heat the caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves.
2) Increase the heat and cook until the mixture is golden and slightly thickened. My best tip for this part is to not touch the mixture; it's tempting to start mixing it but if you just leave it to boil away then it will become golden and come out as a nice smooth caramel.
3) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. It will spit at you a bit but don't worry and just keep stirring. You should end up with a golden mixture.
4) Stir in the salt and vanilla and allow to cool completely.
5) Cream the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the caramel.
6) Decorate the cupcakes.

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