Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Filling Topped with a Maple Buttercream
Yield: Makes about 20 cupcakes
- To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. You will need 20 to 22 cupcake liners. Any cupcake cups that don’t get filled should be filled halfway with water during baking.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the oil with the egg and vanilla on medium speed. Add the brown sugar and sugar and continue to beat until well mixed.
- In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water on medium heat, melt the chocolate. Take care no water or steam gets into the chocolate or it may stiffen. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium power. Do not leave the chocolate in the microwave for longer than 30 or 40 seconds at a time. When the chocolate looks shiny and wet, stir it until it pools. It will not melt completely in the microwave but needs to be stirred.) Let it cool slightly and then add the melted chocolate into the oil and egg mixture. Beat until the color of the batter is even.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder and baking soda.
- In a glass measuring cup, mix together the milk and 1 cup of water.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the flour to the batter, alternating additions with the liquid ingredients. When everything is well mixed and smooth, increase the speed to medium and beat for a few seconds to insure thorough incorporation.
- Spoon the batter (which is a thin batter) into the prepared cupcake cups, filling each one about 2/3 full. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the cupcakes rise, a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes in the center of the pan comes out clean, and the tops of the cupcakes bounce back when gently pressed.
- Set the pans on wire cooling racks for about 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes and letting them cool completely on the racks.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan stir together the sugar, corn syrup and 1/3 cup of water. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until the syrup is clear.
- Without stirring, let the syrup come to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a damp pastry brush, wash down the sides of the pan as needed. Keep the mixture at a boil until it is caramelized, and registers 260°F. (hard ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and very slowly and carefully, pour the cream into the hot caramel, stirring it with a long-handled wooded spoon until smooth. The cream will spatter as it hits the hot syrup, so take great care and use oven mitts. Stir in the sea salt and set aside, covered, to keep warm and fluid.
- When the cupcakes are cool, use a small knife to create a hole that goes as far as the middle of the each cupcake. Spoon the caramel filling into each cupcake to fill the hole. Take care. When the caramel filling is fluid enough to be spooned into the cupcake, it will still be very hot.
- To make the buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. With the mixer running, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and when blended, add the maple syrup to the buttercream. Beat until the frosting is blended and smooth.
- Frost the cupcakes with the maple buttercream.
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 cup milk
- Salted caramel filling:
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- Maple buttercream:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup