Monday, January 3, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting


It was my DH's birthday last week. I was on the fence about what to make. A cake? Cupcakes? What kind? My kids aren't the biggest cake fans. One isn't crazy about the cake part & one isn't crazy about frosting...I have weird kids.
I wanted to make something that everyone might like. DH will eat anything sweet & both my kids are wild about caramel. I'm a huge caramel fan too & salted caramel? My fave.
So, after some internet cruising, I settled on this recipe, which I found on the website, CHOW. I am so glad that I did! I love these cupcakes! The frosting is perfect. It reminds me of the Butterscotch Pudding I made a few years ago, but in frosting form. It starts out sweet, then gets a little of the bitterness from the caramel & finishes salty.
I briefly considered turning the recipe into a layer cake. But, I'm glad I decided against it. These cupcakes are very rich & in cake form I think it would have been too much. But, as little cakes? Perfect!
If you're a fan of caramel, or butterscotch, this recipe is a must for you!

For the cupcakes, begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cups. Whisk 2 cups cake flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder & 1 teaspoon of salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1 1/2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter.

Add 1 1/2 cups sugar...

& the seeds from 1 vanilla bean. Beat until combined.

Next, add 2 egg whites & 2 whole eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the bowl, as needed.

Add 3/4 cups whole milk & beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low & slowing add the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the paper liners, until 1/2 full. Bake for about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.


For the frosting, stir together a 1/4 cup sugar & 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil & cook, without stirring, until it turns a dark amber color, about 6-7 minutes.

Remove from the heat & slowly stir in a 1/4 cup of heavy cream & 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so do this slowly, stirring as you pour! Set aside until cool to the touch.

Once the caramel is cooled, add 1 1/2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter & 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to a mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat, on medium speed, until light & fluffy.

Reduce the speed to low & add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Beat until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl & pour in the caramel. Turn the mixer back on & beat until light & fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the frosting to an airtight container & chill for at least 45 minutes before using.

Frost the cupcakes before serving & decorate with sprinkles, or nonpareils, if desired.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Adapted {barely} from Amy Wisniewsk, via Chow
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cups.
Whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until light & fluffy. Add the sugar & vanilla seeds, beat until combined. Add the egg whites & then the whole eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the bowl, as needed. Add the milk & beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low & slowing add the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the paper liners, until 1/2 full. Bake for about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Frosting:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine the sugar & water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil & cook, without stirring, until it turns a dark amber color, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat & slowly stir in the heavy cream & vanilla. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so do this slowly, stirring as you pour! Set aside until cool to the touch.
Beat the butter & salt in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until light & fluffy. Reduce the speed to low & add the powdered sugar. Beat until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl & pour in the caramel. Turn the mixer back on & beat until light & fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the frosting to an airtight container & chill for at least 45 minutes before using.
Note: The frosting can be made ahead of time & stored in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Let the frosting come to room temperature before using.
Click here for the printable recipe.

17 comments:

Blog is the New Black said...

These sound, and look!!!, delicious. I just starred this recipe and plan on making it soon. I love cc's with caramel frosting!

Joanne said...

I honestly prefer everything in cupcake form. And everything caramel. So these are basically perfect!

The Food Hound said...

Salted caramel is just fun to say, let alone wonderful to eat :) These look divine!

Lick My Spoon said...

I'm always on the lookout for a good vanilla cupcake base. I have this bookmarked to try!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

Oh my goodness, yum! Oh boy do I really want some salted caramel frosting, like right now. I have a feeling I'm going to be putting this frosting on everything!

Veronica Gantley said...

I love caramel. Can I lick the paddle?

Angharad said...

I adore these! Anything with saltiness is a major plus in my book. And salted caramel - wow!

crustabakes said...

I made these, and they were out of this world! I was too chicken to take the sugar to a darker colour and got a pale shade for the frosting. But they were still very delish!

Eat. Laugh. Run. said...

These look fantastic...I wish I could eat the batter out of your picture! Salted caramel is my favorite, and how can that not be delicious with vanilla cupcakes? This is getting bookmarked into my "make soon" folder :)

Anonymous said...

WOW, these look so delicious! I love the vanilla and salted caramel flavors. I have to make these as soon as possible. i love your blog and all of your recipes! incredible taste and style

Gale Reeves said...

Just found your blog...beautiful!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing your talent.

Ana Rodriguez said...

I made these today as a surprise for my brother's graduation. We live in Mexico. THEY WERE AMAZING! He loooved them :)

megan said...

Just made these!! Iceing is in the fridge...can't wait to frost them!!

Anonymous said...

i made these a few weeks ago and i am attempting to make then again today the frosting was amazing but for some reason the cupcakes were kind of dense and muffin-like

kate said...

Anonymous-
While I am certainly not an expert on baking, I do believe that eggs and the ratio of eggs/egg whites is what effects a cakes density. For example, a cupcake recipe with 6 egg whites vs. this one would be lighter in texture.
This one happens to be on the heavier side with eggs, which is why it's a denser cupcake.
Another factor is over-mixing, which will effect how light & fluffy the final product is, or is not. Be sure you're not mixing too much.

I happen to be a fan of cakes heavy on the eggs...I love the flavor, and prefer a denser cupcake. Although I'm not the original author of this recipe {the source is available above in the recipe's headnotes} I happen to like it. However, mine certainly weren't overly dense! Just more muffin like as you said, and less airy/fluffy. If yours were very dense, I would check the mixing.

As an alternative, substitute your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and use this frosting recipe. Thanks for the comment & I hope this helps :)

Miranda B said...

Just made the frosting and put it on angel food cupcakes. Tastes great!!!

Baker said...

Can i use this recipe and make a cake out of it?? will everything work out or will it not work??

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