You'll also need cake flour. I know, I also wish all-purpose flour could really be used for all purposes, but this time you're going to need the cake flour. It makes the cupcakes really light and gives them a nice fine crumb. If you don't have any cake flour but you do have cornstarch, use this post from Joy the Baker and turn some of your regular flour into cake flour.
I made these for an event we had at my Quaker meeting last night. Every Wednesday in the summer, my meeting hosts a Wellesley Wednesday cookout, where everyone brings something to share and then someone presents on an interesting topic. Well, yesterday, the interesting topic was THIS BLOG! I had so much fun telling everyone all about A Calculated Whisk and how it all works--some of them did not even know what a blog was!
After the discussion, we made frosting together! I showed everyone how to stuff a cupcake with salted caramel, and how to use sugar, butter, a little milk and salt, and flavorings to make a delicious small batch of buttercream. I brought all kinds of fun things for people to flavor their frosting: grenadine, vanilla, vanilla beans, cinnamon, cocoa, almond extract, peppermint extract, salted caramel, and lime and lemon zest. We had a blast!
Ingredients for the cupcakes (adapted from this recipe at Cookies & Cups; makes about 20 cupcakes):
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, cut into chunks
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the filling:
1 cup salted caramel sauce
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 and line your muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a mixer to beat the mixture on low speed for about a minute to make everything light and fluffy.
With the mixer still on low, add the butter a couple of pieces at a time. Mix until it looks like coarse sand. Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing all the while and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat for about two minutes until the batter is really smooth.
Fill your cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are puffed and set, but not browned, and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before you fill or frost them.
To fill the cupcakes, use a small paring knife to cut a small cone-shaped piece out of the top of the cupcake, making sure you don't cut too close to the bottom of the cupcake. Spoon salted caramel in to fill the cone.
Ingredients for the frosting (makes enough for 20 cupcakes):
1 cup salted caramel sauce
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients by hand or with a mixer until smooth. Spread or pipe onto cooled, filled cupcakes.
If desired, drizzle some salted caramel and sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top of the frosted cupcakes.
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