salted caramel chocolate cupcakes

If you have been following the progression of my dinner party that I had last weekend, you might be wondering what I served as the main dish, since I went straight from side dishes to dessert.  Well, I served a pork tenderloin with apple cider reduction and while it was good, it wasn’t really good.  I also semi-screwed up the reduction part of the recipe and it was more of an applesauce consistency…it wasn’t pretty.  It was tasty, but nothing I would consider blog-worthy.  


These cupcakes on the other hand, are 100% blog-worthy.  I wanted to end the dinner party on a memorable note with dessert, so I decided to replicate a famous Seattle cupcake store’s popular Salted Caramel Cupcake.  I haven’t had the cupcake but I think these might give them some competition.  The cupcake was moist, rich, and chocolatey and the salted caramel buttercream was to. die. for.  The salty frosting balanced out the sweet cupcake and together they were the perfect ending to a great dinner.  


The great thing about serving cupcakes for dessert at a dinner party is that there is really no preparation, cutting, plating, or serving that has to be done besides setting them out for everyone to grab.  They don’t require utensils or an extra set of plates to eat off, and all you have to do is throw away the wrappers.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  

Thanks to everyone who came to my dinner party!  It was so wonderful to meet you all and I can’t wait for our next food adventure!  

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
from Grin and Bake It
yields about 30 cupcakes


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place cupcake liners in muffin pan.


In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.


In large bowl with electric mixer, combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.


Last, add the coffee and stir just to combine, once again scraping the edges to make sure it is evenly combined.


Pour the batter into prepared cupcake liners a little less than 2/3 full.  Bake for 15 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.


Salted Caramel Buttercream
*If you are piping your icing, you may want to double the frosting recipe, especially if you like the frosting thick


1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature*
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 tbsp sea salt (add 1/2 tbsp at a time, and taste after each addition…the saltiness depends on your liking)*


*You can also used salted butter and add less/not add sea salt.  I added my own salt so I could control the saltiness


Directions:


Stir together sugar and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue cooking, without stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6-7 minutes.  The key is not to stir it.


Remove from heat and slooooooooowly add in cream and vanilla (start with a few spoonfuls).  Stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.  Set aside until cool to touch.


In bowl with electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed and add powdered sugar, mixing until well combined.  Turn off the mixer and slowly add the caramel.  Beat the frosting on low to combine, and then increase speed to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

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