Happy Birthday Meagan!

And only one day belated! These cupcakes are for you. Can we all pretend that my buttercream is not grainy and these are beautifully decorated–worthy of a Happy Birthday? Please? I promise they’re delicious.

Really, really. I made them yesterday after work and I couldn’t resist the buttercream. My evening turned into frosting for dinner and Gram’s chicken cacciatore for dessert. It was a great evening.

So the Salted Caramel Cupcakes! It only took me a few weeks to get my act together. They actually are vanilla cupcakes with browned butter & salted caramel buttercream. I didn’t want a super dense cake, so I went with the Joy of Baking recipe below. The Caramel Syrup is delicious and adds a bit of depth to the frosting. On half of my batch I soaked my cakes with the syrup as noted. I think I liked them better sans syrup with this cake recipe, but it depends on how sweet or caramely you want your cupcakes. Give ’em a go…

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

part Joy of Baking, part Flo Braker (posted by Shuna fish Lydon)

For Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

For Syrup:
2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water, plus 1 cup for “stopping”

For Buttercream:
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
4-6 Tablespoons heavy cream
4 Tablespoons caramel syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.

Cupcakes: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in your eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add half of flour mixture into the creamed butter, then add the milk, and finally add the other half of the flour mixture.  Beat just until well combined.

Pour into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown.  Mine took closer to 22 minutes to bake.  This recipe makes 12 decent-sized cupcakes.

Syrup:  You can get started on this while your cupcakes are baking.  If you’re not using the syrup to soak your cake, you can half this recipe as you won’t need much for the frosting.  In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Cook on high until the syrup is amber in color and you have a lovely, rich, burnt sugar smell happening.  CAREFULLY, ever so carefully, pour 1 cup of water into your caramel syrup.  The mixture will bubble up, so make sure you’re wearing long sleeves and have an emergency bowl of ice water handy in case caramel splatters on your skin.

Have I scared you?

Once the sputtering has stopped a bit, whisk your caramel syrup over medium heat until it has reduced slightly.  Coat a spoon in the syrup and let cool, then test some between your fingers.  Once done it should be slightly sticky.  Remove from heat and cool.

Buttercream:  In a small saucepan, brown butter.  Remove from heat and pour through sieve to remove solids.  Let cool.  Pour browned butter into mixing bowl and gradually beat in your powdered sugar.  When your frosting is looking lumpy, add a bit of your cream or syrup, and continue adding powdered sugar until it’s all incorporated.  Add your vanilla and the desired amount of salt.  I used 1-2 teaspoons.

Assemble:  For a sweeter cupcake you can use the syrup to soak your cake.  Remove the cupcakes from the tin, the paper liners will help hold them together for this part.  While still warm, carefully poke holes with a toothpick or chopstick into the top of your cupcakes.  A lot of them.  Dip a pastry brush in the syrup and slowly paint the top of the cakes, giving it time to absorb the syrup.  Do this a few times to saturate the cake.  Let cool and frost with buttercream.

OR, just cool your cupcakes and frost.

Either way, sprinkle some salt on the top.  Ammmazing!

I kind of already want to bake more, especially since I have some leftover buttercream.  Meagan, can you have another birthday?

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7 Responses to “Happy Birthday Meagan!”

  1. Adria Says:

    these look amaaazing!!

  2. Darlene Says:

    Wow girl…..these look incredible!! I am definetely going to make these. I still haven’t tasted the salted carmel ice cream at Izzy’s. Went back again after you left. So your buttercream was grainy? I have been using Baker’s Sugar which is a finer grind than regular sugar. It dissolves nicely. Maybe give it a try. Your site is awesome!! Love your photos. Only wish I were there to cook with you….

    • citytart Says:

      You have to try the salted caramel at Izzy’s and tell me all about it. Or I’ll just have to visit again soon…that sounds like a better plan. How are the deer?
      Not sure about the frosting. It was delicious but still grainy even sifting my powdered sugar. I think it has to do with the fact that I was using a hand mixer? Or that you’re working with melted butter? Let me know how it goes for you.
      And we can cook in October!

  3. Lara Says:

    Mmmm….they were yummy!

  4. Meagan Says:

    These were awesome! The buttercream was not grainy at all. We can pretend everyday is my birthday.

  5. Darlene Says:

    I did try salted carmel at Izzy’s….delish!! The deer have been visiting during the day….two does and two spotted fawns. Chloe goes nuts when she sees them. Soon the wild turkeys will be here..they are really funny. Hummm…the frosting…I’ve read it is really hard to use the liquid sugar mixture and get it right. Maybe the humidity has something to do with it all. I’ll be there a week in October..can’t wait. Come visit anytime!

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