Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes Topped with Homemade Toffee

During college, I founded a mini cupcake, delivery service. I felt that since I was baking all the time anyway, I might as well try to be daring, for once, as well as cost productive. I greatly respect entrepreneurs, and maybe, just maybe, I will have the cojones to have a real business one day.

Anyway, each week, I delivered atypical flavors to try to challenge my members’ palates and expectations. They were not told the flavor in advance; bestowing their trust in me, sometimes they’d receive something normal, like Cookie Dough Cupcakes, and other times they’d get cupcakes topped with syrupy meat.

This classic cupcake received some of the most positive feedback. Introducing:

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes Topped with Homemade Toffee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis cupcake is the cat’s meow.
Here are the individual components: Dark Chocolate Cupcake, Salted Caramel Frosting, Salted Caramel Drizzle, Homemade Toffee

Moist Dark Chocolate Cupcake  A great recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Makes 12 cupcakes, or about 36 mini

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.

Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until warm.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl.

Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Sift one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; add sour cream un then sift remaining flour mixture in and whisk until batter is homogeneous.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. They should fill each 2/3 of the way. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes (12-15 if mini cupcakes)

Salted Caramel Sauce from The Cooking Channel
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

*Cook’s Note: The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.

Salted Caramel Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add in the caramel sauce then
the sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes, then drizzle the caramel using a squeeze bottle or a fork.

Homemade Toffee Candy from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (You will benefit from a candy thermometer)
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (almonds work well)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil; butter foil or spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Add sugar; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.

Stir in water and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until 290°F on candy thermometer. It’ll start to thicken up and turn a light brown toffee color.

Remove from heat. Pour onto baking sheet and spread about 1/4 inch thick. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate and gently spread over the toffee. Add the nuts!

Allow to cool completely. When firm, break into pieces.

Et c’est fini! À bientôt

For more salted caramel goodness, see:

Banana Nutella Cream Pie topped with Salted Caramel and Candied Nuts