I was asked to bring something sweet to a friend’s BBQ last Friday and I was keen to use up ingredients I already had in the house. I knew I had several batches of meringue buttercream frosting in the freezer leftover from a recent marathon spell of baking so I thought cupcakes would hit the right spot for a night of informal dining.
Salted caramel is having its moment in the spotlight so I thought I’d make them into cupcake form. I adapted my recipe from one I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction (she’s American which explains the slightly odd quantities in my recipe as it’s converted from cups to grams).
The cake itself is made with lots of dark brown sugar which imparts a deep caramel flavour and the frosting also has a distinct caramel flavour with a light airy texture from the meringue base. The sea salt lifts the entire thing from being a children’s treat to a decidedly adult delight.
For the cake…
165g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
165g dark brown sugar
90g granulated sugar
120g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
90g milk or cream (I used a mixture as I had cream in the fridge)
For the frosting…
If you’re feeling lazy, simply add all the cake ingredients into a food processor and whizz up until smooth.
If you’d prefer to go the long way around, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and eggs one at a time.
Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt and finally the milk (or cream).
Divide between your cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
Whilst the cakes are cooking, prepare your frosting by whisking the (cooled) caramel sauce gently into the half batch of meringue buttercream.
When the cakes are cooled you are ready to ice. Attach a plain half inch piping nozzle to a piping bag and fill with big dollops of icing. Hold the tip close to the centre of the cupcake at a vertical angle and squeeze with a steady pressure until you have a big blob of frosting. When you have enough, stop squeezing, gently push down and then up to release the tip with a small point at the end.
If you can’t be bothered to pipe, simply smother the frosting on with a palette knife.