I bought myself the Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery book a few months back and noticed they had an actual bakery in Covent Garden in London. So what do I do next time I find myself in Covent Garden? Drag Alex to the bakery of course and deliberate for 15 whole minutes on what to actually get! I eventually chose the salted caramel cupcake because I was curious to see how it would taste. I tend to avoid using salt in my baking, even when the recipe only calls for a pinch or a 1/4 tsp. As you can see in the pictures below, the cupcake base was vanilla and I believe that is a date at the bottom of the case (terrible that I don’t know that for definite!) When I eventually tasted it, I have to say the cupcake itself didn’t actually bowl me over (I secretly thought to myself that I could do better!) but the salted caramel sauce and buttercream was DIVINE. Such a beautiful combination of flavours and subtle too so it doesn’t punch you in the face and cause you to wince. All I needed to make this myself was an excuse to bake…
That opportunity presented itself when I had a girly evening scheduled with some of my lovely netball ladies. I couldn’t very well arrive empty handed now could I? Although perhaps the picture below suggests I went a teensy bit overboard (leftover red wine cake, jammy dodgers and a box of Celebrations I was bought by a client at work as a thank you gift).
So to make these beauties, you need to melt the chocolate. You can either do this in the microwave (I hardly ever do this, the burn risk is too high!) or over a small pan of simmering water which you can see I did. Set aside but keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to go solid again.
Then cream together the butter and sugar until soft and pale. I must say I am really liking baking with dark muscovado sugar, it gives off such a beautiful, pudding-y and rich scent.
Add the eggs and beat well. Add a tbsp of flour if it looks like the mixture is curdling, Mine was OK but it has happened in the past and this tends to rescue it well.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then fold in carefully. I honestly think I enjoy baking for the smell half the time, such beautiful smells you get!
Add the melted chocolate, again folding in carefully.
Fill the cases to just under 2/3 full as they rise quite a lot. As you can see, I overfilled mine and when they’d baked, they spilled over the side. It was fine but getting them out of the tin does prove to be a little tricky.
Allow to cool in the tin a little first, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Now before I go on, I have a confession to make. I fully intended to make my own homemade caramel sauce and I tried to go down the slightly healthier route by using yoghurt instead of cream in this recipe that I found over at Chocolate Covered Katie (check out my previous fudgy brownie and peanut butter cookie posts). It did not work at all. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if the type of yoghurt I used wasn’t correct but it was this horrible grainy mess. It did have a vague taste of caramel flavour but I couldn’t serve it. So I cheated. I bought some ready made soya dessert and used that instead. It had a lovely velvety texture but please make your own caramel sauce where possible, that’s the fun of baking!
Pour into a jug or cup (or you could leave it in the pot I guess) and add the sea salt flakes to taste. I think I ended up using a tsp and a sprinkle for luck.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, cut a sort of triangular hole in the top, like when you make a butterfly cake. Make sure you keep hold of the bit you’ve cut out and you don’t accidentally eat it!
Pour a small spoonful of the salted caramel mix into the hole in the cupcake then replace the top. You want just enough sauce in there so that it doesn’t come spilling out when you put the top back on.
Make the buttercream by beating together butter and icing sugar until smooth. I made this while the cupcakes were cooling on the wire rack but you could do it whilst they’re in the oven too.
Add the rest of the caramel sauce to the buttercream and mix until you can’t see any streaks. It does make the mix slightly wetter but I placed it in the fridge for 10 minutes and it firmed up fine.
Pipe the buttercream in a circular motion on the top of the cupcakes.
Sprinkle some chocolate caramel fleur de sel flakes on top, or whatever you have (I bought these especially from Lakeland). You could sprinkle some extra sea salt flakes at this point too, although I didn’t.
All ready to go, in the tin. They do look pretty impressive, I have to say!
So there you have it, chocolate salted caramel cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream, topped with chocolate caramel fleur de sel! A bit of a mouthful to say and definitely was my poshest effort to date I think. They tasted pretty amazing if I say so myself, I had to stop myself from eating more than one and leave some for the other girls. They all gave good feedback too. I think the key was that the salted flavour was quite subtle and not too overpowering which is good when you don’t know exactly the tastes of who you are making them for! It’s all to your personal taste though so play around with it when you give these a go yourself 🙂
Here’s an instruction list for those of you that would prefer 🙂 I only intended to make 8 cupcakes but I actually got 12 so make of that what you will!
Ingredients for the cupcakes
- 115g unsalted butter, softened
- 115g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- 100g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 100g milk/plain chocolate, melted.
Ingredients for the caramel sauce
- 75g Alpro Soya caramel dessert
- 1-2 tsp sea salt flakes
Ingredients for the buttercream
- 160g unsalted butter, softened
- 350g icing sugar
- 50g Alpro Soya caramel dessert
- sea salt flakes, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180º and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
- Melt the chocolate then set aside to cool slightly but do not allow to solidify again.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until it turns paler and becomes smooth and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat well.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, then fold in until fully incorporated, taking care not to remove any of the air you’ve beaten in.
- Add the melted chocolate and mix in then add the milk and continue to mix.
- Spoon into the prepared cases until just under 2/3 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before continuing.
- Mix the caramel dessert with the sea salt flakes to your own taste and set aside.
- Make the buttercream by beating the icing sugar and butter until soft and pale, then add the caramel dessert, mixing well until you can’t see any streaks of the dessert. Set aside until needed.
- Cut a hole into the top of the cooled cupcakes, keeping them to the side. Fill the hole with the rest of the salted caramel dessert mix and replace the top.
- Pipe the buttercream in a swirl on top of the cupcakes.
- Sprinkle with the chocolate caramel fleur de sel and some extra sea salt flakes, if you want.