Caramel Cupcakes

I'm home now and have access to a whole, complete, real kitchen, as well as cars to go to real-people grocery stores. This means I have a couple of weeks to bake delicious food, before I go back.

I've always loved caramel, and I have a bazillion or so different caramel recipes bookmarked on my computer from foodgawker (such as this one, this one or this one). I've never made caramel, though, so I figured today would be a good day to start.

I used a caramel cupcake recipe from Dragon's Kitchen, which I think I found through foodgawker at some point. The cupcakes were especially awesome, nice and caramel, without being overly sweet. They were nice and moist, which is a big necessity for me in a cake. And the other awesome thing about this cake was that it is all made of things that I could find on campus, so it could easily be an impromptu/late night baking recipe (although it is a bit long, because of the caramel syrup step). The frosting wasn't quite right, but that could have been because I had difficulties in actually browning the butter (still not entirely certain how to do that, although the internet gave fairly good answers. I'm just afraid of burning it, I think).

The recipe says it makes 12, but I found it makes closer to 16 cupcakes. I didn't really change anything from the original recipe, except for making the syrup first (which you have to do anyway, the directions are just slightly our of order in the original) and browning the butter (which I think was just a fail). Most of this is exactly the same as the original, except I cleared up some of the confusing stuff (for my own future reference, mostly) and re-ordered the recipe in a more logical order.

Lots of delicious caramel-y cupcake deliciousness.

Caramel Cupcakes:
(from Dragon's Kitchen)


·      10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
·      1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
·      1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
·      1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
·      2 each eggs, at room temperature
·      splash vanilla extract
·      2 Cups all-purpose flour
·      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·      1 cup milk, at room temperatur
·      12 tablespoons unsalted butter
·      1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
·      4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
·      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·      2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Caramel Syrup:
·      2 cups sugar
·      1/2 cup water
·      1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)


1.     First, make the caramel syrup.
a.     In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
b. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
c. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.
2.     Preheat oven to 350F
3.     Cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
4.     Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
5.     Sift flour and baking powder.
6.     Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
7.     Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cupcake pans.
8.     Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9.     Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.
10.  Make the frosting:
a.     Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
b.     Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
c.     In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. 

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