It’s so easy to idealize something you’ve never experienced.
I’m in pharmacy school right now.
I guess for now, I’m happy with where I am at. With the exception that I have little to no time for baking (sob), it’s comforting that it’ll always be there. I can pick up a whisk, crack open a few eggs, pour some cream, add some flavorings, and in an hour I’ll have a creme brulee with all its familiar comfort. I can cream some butter, add some flour and sugar, and pretty soon, the warmth of chocolate chip cookies will be radiating throughout my home.
|My very professional backdrop.|
So I melted them down in a pot, added a little cream, and hoped for the best. The caramel turned out very gloopy (think snot. yeah, sorry), but quite tasty.
For the frosting, I chose a marshmallow frosting that is finished off stove-top, so it’s perfect if you only have a stand mixer and not a hand mixer. Assembling them was my favourite part: a ring of frosting, filling the centre with caramel and a good sprinkling of sea salt (I have fine sea salt, but I wish I had fleur de sel instead), then hiding it with a high swirl of frosting.
These are a perfect treat if you are not too keen on buttery, heavy frostings– the seven-minute marshmallow frosting is fat free (certainly not sugar free though…highfive).
Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Ginger Caramel and Marshmallow Frosting
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
- 7-8 ginger coffee caramels
- scant 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- sea salt, to taste
For Marshmallow Frosting
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature (not pasteurized)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In the large bowl of a standing mixer, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes), scraping occasionally. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very runny.
- Pour batter into a large liquid measuring cup with a spout. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each no more than two-thirds full. Bake 20-24 minutes, or until cupcakes feel slightly springy when you gently press their centres. Keep a close eye on ’em! Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
- Place unwrapped caramels in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring often, and add whipping cream in small amounts while stirring. Add butter. Cook until the caramel is velvety smooth and thickened. Allow to cool.
- Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
- Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand to combine. Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 120°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to medium and whisk for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
- Transfer frosting to pastry bag fitted with a large tip (I used a large star tip). Pipe frosting around the outer circumference of each cupcake.
- Use two small spoons (one spoon to scoop, one to scrape off other spoon) to transfer a scant teaspoon of caramel into the centres. Give a generous sprinkling of fleur de sel.
- Finish piping frosting onto cupcakes, first retracing your first circle, and moving inwards and up, creating a swirl effect.