Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

These are Randal's favourite cupcake, so of course I had to make them for the bake sale.

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes. Once cooled frost with the salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream, drizzle with caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt and top with a milk dud.

Salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of sea salt
2 cups unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First make the caramel sauce by placing 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the
water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stop stirring and cook until caramel is amber. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking until smooth. Whisk in sea salt and let cool.

To make the frosting, put a few inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the egg whites and sugar into a bowl that will fit over the pan of water and whick until it reaches 150 degrees and the sugar has all melted. Transfer mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until the bowl feels cold (this can take up to 10 minutes) add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, then add the vanilla, a pinch of salt and the caramel sauce.

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