Sunday, April 10, 2011

Caramel Delight Cupcakes

So, for those of you into baking blogs, you've most definitely noticed that trends spread quickly across the blogs: whoopie pies, macarons, cake balls, cupcakes. The current baking blog fad is homemade Girls Scout cookies. I have already have shared with you my attempt at homemade Thin Mints. I have also made homemade Caramel DeLights, but, unfortunately, I didn't take pictures. Along with the current fascination with Girls Scout cookies, there is a baking love affair taking place with everything Girls Scout cookies related. Thus,  I give you today's post: Caramel Delight Cupcakes (for those in the majority of the country, that would be Samoa Cupcakes). 
  This is a chocolate cupcake, iced with caramel frosting, covered in toasted coconut, and topped with a little semi-sweet chocolate. The flavors are fairly good on this one, and I have decided that toasted coconut is one of the most luscious things ever created. The crunch is so fantastic.
    However, I have a problem I'd like to present to all the cupcake lovers in the world. Do you know how to make cupcakes taste good? Frosting is delicious and can make almost everything tast good, but I don't know how to make the cupcake part itself tast fantastic. I have bought cupcakes at cupcake bakeries that taste good, but I must not know how to make them taste good and fluffy and moist. Any suggestions?
  One final note before getting to the recipe. I had some wonderful pictures of my cupcakes and the process of making them, but I lost them in a very sad bit of techinical error. However, I took some more pictures of the three cupcakes I had left. So they will have to do.

Caramel Delight Cupcakes
(adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen)

For the Cupcakes:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk

For the Caramel Frosting:

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy and light, at least 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk beating just until combined.

4.  Fill the cupcake papers 1/2 full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Tilt each cupcake in the muffin pan so it sits at an angle. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan at this angle for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

5.  To toast the coconut, spread the coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Toast in a 350°F oven, stirring frequently, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.

6.  To make the frosting, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the salt and brown sugar and heat the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7.  Once the caramel frosting mixture is lukewarm, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Adjust consistency with a little more milk or powdered sugar, if necessary.

8.  Heat chocolate chips in microwave for about 30 seconds or until drizzling consistency.

9.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting, beginning at the outer edge and working inward. Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with melted chocolate and garnish with toasted coconut.

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