Saturday, October 2, 2010

First Cupcakes with a Filling!

These turtle cupcakes definitely gave me a hard time today, but as soon as I tasted them I couldn't even be mad about the two batches of caramel and one batch of frosting that I ended up putting down the garbage disposal. Who wouldn't love something that is a combination of chocolate, caramel, and nuts! In fact they might have just claimed the title for favorite cupcake! Which is weird considering I don't usually even like chocolate cake.

So I have never made homemade caramel before and actually still have not made a successful batch! I think the next kitchen gadget I will be purchasing is going to be a candy thermometer. That might explain part of the problem I had today. The first batch of caramel turned into a solid brick of sugar crystals. The second batch I attempted was way too runny and would have turned the cupcakes to mush if I had used it as a filling. The third batch didn't turn out perfect, but at least it was usable. It actually tasted really good, but was a little gritty. Gotta work on perfecting the creamy consistency!

For the swiss meringue buttercream, I used brown sugar instead of white sugar. This was an idea I got from Oh, just put a cupcake in it. And it actually complimented the caramel filling very nicely!! I jazzed up the top of the cupcake with a little drizzle of caramel and a few chopped walnuts!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup brown sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened, cubed into Tbsp chunks
1 tsp vanilla

Over pan of simmering water mix sugar, eggs, and cream of tartar. Whisk until mixture hits 160 degrees (or until you cannot feel sugar crystals any longer).

Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl and beat on high with whisk attachment 8 - 10 minutes or until the bottom of bowl is cool.

Attach paddle and on medium start adding the butter 1 Tbsp at a time, letting the butter incorporate after each addition. After all of the butter is added, beat until it is smooth and then add vanilla.

Caramel Filling
from Southern Living
1 cup butter
2 cups suggar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup whipping cream

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and corn syrup, and cook, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture turns a deep caramel color. Gradually add cream, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool. Chill 2 hours or until thickened and spreading consistency.

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