Salted Caramel Cupcakes
 
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Cook time
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The perfect balance of sweet and salty is what a Salted Caramel Cupcake is all about. This cupcake recipe uses one-half recipe of a luscious yellow cake, the same recipe used for my Caramel Cake. After cooled, the cupcakes are filled with an amazing Salted Caramel filling that uses fleur de sel sea salt. Fleur de sel, meaning “flower of salt” in French, is found in most specialty food stores and natural food stores; it is a sea salt with a fresh smooth flavor that is hand-harvested off the coast of France. A portion of the Salted Caramel filling is also used to create the rich Salted Caramel Frosting. The finishing adornment on these cupcakes is a sweet Caramel Spiral sprinkled with decorative sugar crystals, resembling webs of sparkling light.

The Salted Caramel Filling makes about 2 cups. You will have leftover filling which is absolutely perfect to pour over your favorite ice cream or other desserts. The filling can be made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator. When ready to use heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds to re-warm and make spoonable.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cupcakes | Caramel | Butter Cakes
Ingredients
Batter:
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk, room temperature (preferably whole milk)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Salted Caramel filling (for filling and frosting, makes about 2 cups):
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2½ teaspoons sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
Salted Caramel Frosting (makes about 3 cups):
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • ¼ cup Salted Caramel Filling
Caramel Spirals (optional):
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons large-crystal coarse or decorative sugar
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line with about 15 paper cupcake liners.
Batter:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the sour cream, milk, and vanilla together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the milk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and milk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill ⅔ full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup. Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
  7. Bake: Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Repeat process with any remaining batter. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire cooling rack before filling and frosting.
Salted Caramel Filling:
  1. In a medium size heavy saucepan; preferably non-stick, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to remove any stray granules of sugar. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 325 degrees F, a light caramel stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Let stand about 1 minute to let the bubbling subside. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will cause serious burns if you touch it.
  2. Slowly add the whipping cream (the mixture will spatter) and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the sea salt and let cool. Tip: if any caramel mixture is stuck to the bottom of the pan, place the pan on low heat and stir until the caramel liquefies.
Filling the Cupcakes:
  1. Using a small sharp kitchen knife, hold the knife at a 45 degree angle, and cut out a cone-shaped piece from the top of each cupcake, cutting about ¼ inch from the outside edge and about ½ inch deep. Tip: Discard the cutout pieces or save for another use.
  2. Re-warm the Salted Caramel Filling in the microwave for a few seconds if necessary to make spoonable. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm filling into each cutout cupcake. Set filled cupcakes aside while making frosting and to let the caramel filling cool before frosting.
Salted Caramel Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add ¼ cup of the cooled Salted Caramel filling, continue beating until the frosting is thick and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Tip: Re-warm the Salted Caramel Filling in the microwave for a few seconds if necessary to make spoonable.
  3. Frosting should be used immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. After refrigeration, return to room temperature and re-whip with an electric mixer before using.
  4. Use a pastry bag and decorating tip to pipe the frosting. Tip: I used a #18 open-star tip. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, piping the frosting around the top of the cupcake and gradually forming a peak creating a swirled look.
Caramel Spirals (optional):
  1. Line two large baking sheets with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium heavy saucepan, preferably non-stick, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 320 degrees F, a light caramel stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches 300 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 320 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 320 degrees to prevent it from going over 320 degrees. F.
  3. Let the hot caramel sit and cool to 300 degrees F, about 5 minutes. The caramel should be thick like molasses.
  4. Carefully scoop out the caramel using a tablespoon and pour the caramel off the spoon onto the prepared baking sheets, forming swirls about 3-inches in diameter. The caramel will start to harden immediately. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Repeat with the remaining caramel. While the caramel is still soft, sprinkle with large-crystal coarse or decorative sugar. Tip: If the caramel becomes too cool and hardened before you finish making all the swirls, place the pan over low heat to reheat it.
  5. When cooled and set, the swirls can be gently lifted away from the parchment paper or non-stick mat. Gently press one caramel spiral onto the top of each frosted cupcake. Store at room temperature, preferably in airtight containers until ready to serve; do not refrigerate as the caramel swirls will become sticky. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted.
Adapted From: Classic Southern Desserts, Oxmoor House, Iowa, 2010Baggett, Nancy, The All-American Dessert Book, Houghton Mifflin Co, New York, 2005Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 2009Cairns, Fiona, Bake & Decorate, Quadrille Publishing Limited, London, 2010
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pans Pan Prep: Paper Liners Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 15 Cupcakes Storage: Covered, Room Temperature

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Sugar and Caramel Stages

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cupcakes/salted-caramel-cupcakes/