Salty, gooey caramel is the perfect surprise stuffed inside this fluffy, chocolate cupcake!
For the cupcake:
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
- 1 cup boiling water
For the caramel:
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon course salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut in rough tablespoon pieces
For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons warm water
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1–1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 10-ounce bag dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled
- course sea salt for sprinkling
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line muffin tins with paper liners. Set water to boil either using a tea kettle or sauce pan.
- In a mixing bowl add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined.
- On low speed add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and espresso powder (if opted for). Bring to mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl if needed.
- Add the boiling water and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, rotating pans halfway if oven heat is uneven.
- Remove from baking tins. Allow to cool and remove the ‘core’ of the cupcake. If you do not have a cupcake corer, a metal piping tip (1M) also works well.
For the caramel:
- Add the granulated sugar, water and corn syrup to a heavy bottom, large sauce pan. Without stirring, cook over medium-high heat for 13-15 minutes until the mixture turns a dark amber. If working with a gas burner that has a ‘hot spot’, turn the pan throughout the cooking process so the sugar on the hot spot does not burn.
- Remove from heat and slowly stir in heavy cream. Mixture will bubble, be sure to use a large enough sauce pan and avoid getting any splatter on your skin. Stir until smooth.
- Return the pan to medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 240F on the candy thermometer.
- Once the mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat and stir in course salt. Stir in butter, one piece at a time, stirring until all butter has dissolved before adding the next cube.
- Will yield about 4 cups of caramel, allow to cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes) and add 1 1/2 cups caramel to a small piping bag. Cut off a large enough tip to fill the cupcakes, but not so large the caramel will drip all over in between cupcakes. Piping bag may be hot, have a kitchen towel available.
For the frosting:
- Prior to making the frosting, melt the chocolate and allow to cool (10 minutes.)
- In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and water until cocoa dissolves.
- With a mixer, beat together the butter, 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and a generous pinch of kosher salt until pale and fluffy.
- Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Additional confectioner’s sugar can be added after incorporating the melted chocolate if frosting is too soft or for additional sweetness.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a round tip to frost the cupcakes, sprinkle with flake or large sea salt crystals for decoration.
- Category: Dessert