Scrumptious as they are, I feel kind of ridiculous talking about cupcakes at the moment. It's been a week since tornadoes ravaged all over Alabama and the Southeast. I've seen trees down and heard countless stories of people who have lost friends and family and homes and communities. My life returned to normal while everywhere I look people are people are donating supplies and money and going to help out. So in the scheme of life and loss, what are cupcakes? Silly as they are, sweets do always bring smiles. So why haven't I done my part? I lose.
Anyway, the original cupcake story: My little brother all of a sudden grew up and is graduating from college. And he finally decided to host his friends for a lake weekend. Responsible as he is, the extent of Patrick's cooking skills are turkey sandwiches and microwaved nachos. Read: college boys stuck in the woods far from any restaurant armed with only a kitchen and a grill. My mother and I couldn't let these poor boys not experience the full culinary wonder of the lake house. We made a menu.We shopped for them. We wrote down how to grill steaks and bake potatoes. And I made cookies and cupcakes—caramel because caramel cake is his favorite.
Triple Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
Caramel Filling (recipe below)
Caramel Icing (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece. Spread the tops of cakes with Caramel Icing
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
Melt the sugar over medium-high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2 Tbsp milk
1 pound powdered sugar
Pour Caramel Filling not remaining after filling cupcakes in a large mixing bowl. Add milk and sugar and beat on medium speed until blended. Add more milk if too thick.
Makes about 30 cupcakes.