Salted Caramel Cupcakes

My friend got me the new Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for my birthday. The first baked I tried went horribly wrong so I was a bit apprehensive to try this one despite the fact the recipes are usually pretty easy and spot on. They are soooo tasty! I thought they might be a bit sickly but if you get the ratio of salt:caramel perfect then they are delicious. To get the ratio right there was a lot of tasting involved so its good if, like me, you like to have a taste as you go along.

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Salted Caramel Cupcakes

  • 70g unsalted butter, softened
  • 170g plain flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 210ml whole milk
  • 2 large eggs

for the frosting

(I halved the quantity needed for the frosting as Hummingbird recipes always produce HUGE amounts of frosting which, for me, is a bit sickly. I have provided the un-halved quantities)

  • 670g icing sugar, sifted
  • 210g unsalted butter, softened
  • 70ml whole milk
  • 30g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
  • pinch of good-quality sea salt

for the filling and decoration

  • 100g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
  • pinch of good-quality sea salt

Preheat the oven to 170C and line muffin tins with paper muffin cases.

First make the sponge. In a freestanding electric mixer or using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together until they form a crumb-like consistency.

In a jug, mix together the milk and eggs by hand.

With the mixer or whisk on a slow speed, gradually pour half of the liquid into the crumb mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Raise the speed to medium and beat until the batter is smooth and thick, with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then. Once all lumps are gone, turn the speed back down and gradually pour in the remaining liquid, continuing to mix until the batter is smooth and combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cases, filling them 2/3 full.

Bake for 20-25 mins or until the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Using the freestanding electric mixer or using a hand-held electric whisk, gradually mix the icing sugar and butter together on a low speed until combined and there are no large lumps of butter. Gradually add the milk while mixing on a slow speed. Add the dulce de leche and sea salt and mix thoroughly. Turn up the speed and beat until light and fluffy (This is the bit where tasting is required! I found that a bit more dulce de leche and sea salt was needed. I think I tripled their suggestion)

Once the cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to make a hollow in the centre of each cupcake, approx. 2cm in diameter and 3cm deep. Retain the cut out pice of sponge. Spoon about 1tsp of the dulce de leche into the hollow. Replace the cut-out piece of sponge, trimming to fit and pressing down gently to ensure it is level with the rest of the cake.

Spoon generous amounts of the frosting onto each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife, making a swirl at the top. To finish, swirl about 1tsp of dulce de leche (I gently heated my caramel to make it easier to swirl) on the top of each cupcake and sprinkle with sea salt.

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