Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Centres

It's good to go away, but it's great to be back home! When we were driving to the airport through the avenue of London plane trees that line the entrance to our suburb, I did wonder were we doing going away at such a glorious time of year in Natal. But sometimes you need to go away to have a proper break (and to appreciate home!). The Cape was lovely, and magical and fresh. Definitely fresh - at least 8 degrees colder than Durban. One of the first things I did when we arrived home was to get out of my jeans and into a sundress. And I can't wait to don an apron and get baking, but I have to catch up on some other work first *sigh*!

So, forgive me for this quick post: it's nothing entirely new. You've seen the separate elements before, but the combination is one that I haven't published yet, and I hope that's ok with you!
 : )

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Centres

 Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Prepare 2x 12hole muffin trays with cupcake cases. (Plus an extra 6 if you aren't using larger "American"-style muffin cases) 

2 cups cake flour
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water 
1tsp vanilla  extract 

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Whisk to combine. 
Make a well in the centre, and pour in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. 
Mix well. 
Add the boiling water. Mix until combined. 

Pour into the prepared cupcake cases - do not fill more than halfway! 
Bake at 180'C for approx 20min, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. 
Remove cupcakes from muffin trays and cool. 

Caramel sauce.

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh cream
Sea salt crystals.

Place the sugar and water in a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
Brush the side of the saucepan with a damp brush often to remove any sugar crystals clinging there.

Bring the mixture to the boil. Leave to boil on medium-high heat until it is a rich amber colour. Don't stir - just swirl the saucepan occasionally. (Watch it carefully - once the colour starts to change it can rapidly go beyond "amber" , the sugar will burn and the caramel will be bitter).  

Once the sugar has turned amber, add the butter and stir until it has melted completely. 
(The mixture will froth up dramatically!)
Remove from the heat, wait a few seconds then add the cream. The mixture will froth up again.
Mix until smooth.
Grind in the sea salt - how much depends on personal taste. 

Allow to cool.

Use a long, narrow plain round tip to pipe the caramel sauce into the centre of the cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate Mousse Icing
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

(Enough for 2 dozen cupcakes) 

150g butter, at room temp
1 1/2 tubs cream cheese (375g), cold from the fridge. NB use a dense cream cheese like the Woolworths brand or Lancewood. 
1/2 cups sifted icing sugar 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer  to beat the butter until pale and soft before adding the icing sugar.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together. 
Add in the cream cheese, vanilla and cocoa. Mix well. 

 Ice the caramel filled cupcakes once they are completely cool. 

Happy baking! 


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