Sea Salted Caramel Cupcakes bring together the delicious flavors of moist, dark chocolate cake filled with rich, thick caramel sauce topped with a decadent creamy, smooth buttercream frosting and embellished with a drizzle of even more caramel, topped with a sprinkle of sea salt and finished with a flurry of tiny golden edible stars.
The sweet and the salty, the rich and the creamy – If this sounds good to you, here is how you can make your own:
You can find the entire recipe here. Save time by making the caramel sauce first as it needs time to cool down and thicken up before using. You can actually make this a few days in advance if you’d like, just keep it stored in the fridge until ready to use.
Caramel Sauce: Heat the sugar in a heavy 2 quart saucepan until all the sugar is melted. Add the butter to the melted sugar and whisk until melted and combined.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few seconds before adding the cream. Whisk until smooth. I also added a teaspoon of sea salt to my caramel sauce for an extra salty/sweet flavor.
The recipe calls for Chardonnay wine to be added to the sauce but I choose to use a few tablespoons of Makers Mark Bourbon Whiskey instead, it’s up to you. Then whisk again until completely incorporated and smooth.
Pour caramel sauce into a glass jar and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with papers and set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set flour mixture aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add milk, butter, chocolate, vanilla and sour cream, mixing until well combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture and beat for 2 or 3 minutes until well combined and no streaks of flour are visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, around 2/3 full and bake for 8-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.
Buttercream Frosting: Cream butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment.
Continue to beat until mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and carefully beat until a frosting starts to come together.
Add the meringue powder and beat until incorporated. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the frosting. The recipe calls for adding a tablespoon or three of milk to the frosting however, I left the milk out so that the frosting would be stiff enough to pipe out in a swirl.
I also did not put caramel in the bag with my frosting like indicated in the recipe, opting instead to drizzle the caramel over the swirled frosting at the end.
If you are striping your bag with caramel do so now. Place frosting in a piping bag and refrigerate until slightly firm.
Assembly: When cupcakes are completely cooled take an apple corer and simply “core” the center of each cupcake. I find this to be the easiest way to fill cupcakes and get a generous amount of filling in the center as well (plus you get to snack on all the centers that come out).
When all the cupcakes are “cored” pour caramel into the hole and let set for a minute. Caramel will be absorbed slightly by the cake so add a little more to top off.
Pipe the buttercream in a swirl over the top of each filled cupcake then drizzle more caramel over the top of the icing.
Sprinkle with a little sea salt and, for my part, I finished decorating my cupcakes by sprinkling adorable tiny gold edible stars over the top. You can find gold edible stars here or at any Michael’s Craft Store.