Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vanilla and Salted Caramel Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Surprise!

I love salted caramel. Does anyone else? There is something about that salty goodness that comes along with it, and it really compliments a lot of flavors! I decided one day to find out how it would combine with vanilla, and even throw in a little surprise inside too! Ill get there though. I wanted to play around, so I got busy baking!

I used a vanilla cake recipe that I have used many times for Cake Balls and Pops, just slightly different variations. I must try this with yogurt sometime! I think it would be amazing! But for now, we will try to stay on topic. No promises, but I will do my best.

This is another super easy cake recipe, and if you are thinking that salted caramel is really hard, don't fret! It is really a lot easier than I thought it would be! A lot of people seem to be really afraid of burning the caramel, but honestly, I don't think you will if you are truly watching the caramel. And to be perfectly honest, a little bit of a burnt flavor isn't so bad, so long as its not scorched! Please try it if you are afraid of making it. Its not as hard as you are thinking it is!

So are you ready to see the surprise inside? Ok, you convinced me to show you!

Can you see it poking out? Its little chunks of peanut butter! Oh yes! I did that! Vanilla cake with peanut butter surprise and to top it off, salted caramel frosting! YUM! The only way this could be better would be to do this with chocolate cupcakes! I must do that soon. Oh the possibilities!

Once your cake batter is done, you just want to use a cookie or ice cream scoop to put a small amount in the bottom of the cupcake cup, then take a spoon of peanut butter that you have oh so amazingly frozen for about a half hour, place it over the cake batter, and then cover it up with a little more batter. It should be about 3/4 full.

Bake these beauties for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (yes it will even with the peanut butter inside), and let them cool.

I must admit that I had my oven on fan force, and that is why they came out with the cracks, so don't put your oven on fan force, and they will come out beautifully smooth on top. That is how my second batch came out. Much better! But honestly, once frosted, who's to know right???

For the salted caramel frosting, you are going to start out with a little bit of sugar and a splash or two of water, simmering over medium-high heat. Give it a good stir, let the sugar dissolve (stir more to help it along if necessary) and let come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, stop stirring.

You are going to leave it alone, watching it carefully, for around 7 minutes, until it starts to turn a deep amber color.

This is what it will look like when it starts turning brown, but I had to put the camera down to watch more carefully, so I couldn't get it when it was the right color. Once it turns the right color (deep amber brown), you want to pull it off the heat right away, so you don't burn it. But again, don't fret if you aren't sure of what the color should be. Pull it off before it turns black :)

When you pull it off the heat, immediately, but slowly, add some cream or heavy whipping cream and a little vanilla. It will look like this once those are stirred in.

Don't mind the mess to the left of it. Thanks. Leave this alone for about 20-30 minutes while it cools down a bit. Once it is cooled, you can finish the frosting. Cream together butter and some sea salt, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add 2 cups of powdered/icing sugar until fully combined, and then add the cooled caramel. Also pretend that I am not an airhead and didn't forget to take pictures of the frosting. That would be much appreciated.

From here it is your choice of how to decorate the cupcakes. I have a lot of learning to do with cupcake decorations, so I was just playing around with it, but to finish the cupcakes off, I adorned them with a small amount of sea salt, to bring out the saltiness a little bit more.

 Viola! Finished cupcake. PS, thanks Heidi for the word idea :)

Vanilla and Salted Caramel Cupcake with a Peanut Butter SurprisePrintable Recipe
makes about 18

for the cake:
-250 gr/2 cups + 2 Tbsp butter (softened)
-1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
-1 1/4 cup sugar
-3 eggs, room temperature
-2 1/4 cup self raising flour
-3/4 cup milk (you can substitute yogurt or sour cream)
-1 cup peanut butter

for the frosting:
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 Tbsp water
-1/4 cup cream/heavy whipping cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
-3/4 cup butter, softened (salted is ok)
-1/8 tsp sea salt, or kosher salt
-2 cups icing/powdered sugar

-Place peanut butter in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden up
-Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line your cupcake tray with liners. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add eggs and beat until fully combined.
-Add flour and mix.
-Using a spoon, mix in the milk, or yogurt or sour cream if you prefer.
-Spoon a small amount of batter in the cupcake liners, then spoon a small amount of hardened peanut butter over the batter, and finish off the cupcake with more cake batter, until they are about 3/4 full.
-Bake about 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool completely
-For the frosting, start out with sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Give a stir to help along the dissolving of sugar.
-Bring the mixture to a boil, and stop stirring. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the caramel becomes a deep amber brown color, about 7 minutes.
-Pull mixture off the heat, and slowly stir in cream/heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
-Cream the butter and salt in a bowl until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar until fully combined and finish off with the caramel mixture.
-Top the cupcakes with the frosting how you desire and adorn with sprinkles of sea salt.

Frosting adapted from CHOW.

What kind of surprises would you like in your cupcake?

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  1. These look deeeelicious!! What a great combination of flavours too. I be they went SUPER fast!

    Just looking at the photos is making me drool :D

    1. Thank you Jess! You are so sweet! I wish you and Cale could still be here to have some more of my treats! The studio feels lost with you guys gone ;)

  2. Great pictures of the caramel. I was very impressed that you were taking pictures as you were cooking, but none of the frosting, now I'm disappointed! :)

  3. I am soooooo glad u have posted this - I have been longing for the recipe! YEY! I am so glad u took a photo of the melted sugar in the caramel process - that part kind of freks me out! I am so making these! I have become a bit obsessed woth salted caramel thanks to you! Lovely post Carla! Great photos! <3

    1. Haha Heidi you are too funny! I really think you will like these a lot. Dont be afraid of the caramel process! Its not as hard as it seems. You know what you are doing! Dont worry, you wont burn it :) Thank you for the kind words! I know, salted caramel is to die for!!! <3

    2. Just one question... do u freeze chuncks of pb so u just pop them into the cake mix?

    3. Sorry I forgot to answer this one before... You can definitely freeze chunks. I haven't done that but it would certainly save a step. I'd be interested to try that :) I just freeze a large bit of pb together then take chunks out of the cold chunk. It's pretty easy

  4. These were amazing!!! And the peanut butter goodness on the inside was fantastic!! I got double surprised once. I bit into one ready for my peanut butter surprise, and Carla said "oh yeah, one of them doesn't have peanut butter in them". Surprise!! Mine didn't. You can't see my face... But Im not laughing. I wanted my peanut butter!

    Soo I guess I just had to eat another!! :) hahaha really honey they were amazing! And im so proud of you. I can't wait to see what you make next!!

    Ps. I hear there's some good ideas in the comment section of Heidi's new post ;)

    1. HA HA HA HA HA HA - Yeah - I recall that good idea (note the singular use) I am sure it was about a special brand of ice cream maker.

    2. Matt, you make me laugh. Love it when you get surprises!

  5. Haha, this post made me laugh!
    These look so amazingly delicious, I can't even stand it! I could look at these all day

    1. Thank you Cathleen! Im glad you stopped by and Im happy to hear that you liked the post! I hope you make these soon! I looked at your blog too. You have some yummy stuff! I will be making that pumpkin spice latte very soon! So yum! :)

  6. I already adore those lovely cupcakes :-)

    1. Thank you Joanna! That is so sweet of you :) I am glad you stopped by, and hope you get the chance to make these!

  7. i made your chocolate version and my my they were fantastic!! i loved that the batter was very simple! and also the cupcake turned out super moist and light! perfect!


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