7:38 pm

So today, after no recipe books took our fancy, my friend and I thought we'd get creative and make our own cupcake recipe, and it has to be said, they were super delicious, very soft and the perfect sweet treat. (Now,  this isn't the superfood recipe I promised my first food post would be about, but life is about balance, and these are hands down one of the best Caramel cupcakes I've ever had)
Before you do anything, prep a 12 case muffin/cupcake tray with cases, and preheat the oven to 180 or Gas Mark 4 or just under if you have a particularly hot oven like me!

  • Mixer (Electronic or Hand or If needs must, a wooden spoon and a bit of effort!)
  • Weighing Scales
  • Different bowls and a small jug 
  • Sieve
  • Tbsp Measure
  • Various spoons (you can never have too many spoons to hand!)
  • A good spatula - I'm convinced a decent spatula sets you for culinary success
  • 110g Soft Butter (Unsalted) 
  • 2 Eggs (I got mine from our hens, but just get as fresh as you can get - it honestly makes the world of difference!)
  • 110g Fairtrade Caster Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (steer clear of Vanilla Essence)
  • 110g Self-Raising Flour (we double sifted ours so the cakes were as airy as possible, but it's not obligatory)
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • For the Buttercream: Butter, Icing Sugar, 1/2 tsp Water, 1tsp Vanilla Extract and 1/2 Tbsp Black Treacle. 
  • For the Spun-Sugar Decoration: Caster Sugar (about half a cup, but this can be altered depending on how much decoration you want to make)

  • Put your room-temperature butter in a bowl (if you've accidentally forgotten to take your butter out the fridge, weigh out your cold butter and blast it in the microwave in 5 second intervals until its slightly soft, but make sure you don't overdo it!) and cream it together with the sugar until it's a soft yellow shade.
  • In your jug, crack your two eggs and whisk with your vanilla.
  • Start whisking your butter and sugar together again and slowly add your vanilla/egg mixture until well combined.
  • Add your sifted flour into the mixture and combine well, followed by your milk, and whisk to a light/airy consistency. (If you've used good eggs, your mixture should be a gorgeous yellow/orange colour)
  • Then half fill the paper cases you've prepared (don't over fill - no matter how tempting it might be!)
  • My cakes took around 11 minutes, but they should take no more than 15. (TOP TIP: when checking if you're cakes are done, open your oven slowly so the cakes don't sink, and use a skewer through the centre to check if they're done - if it comes out clean, you can pop them on your cooling rack).
  • Leave to cool, and don't be tempted to decorate until stone cold!

  • The thing with buttercream is, it's almost always best made to taste (and no it's not only because I like to taste as I go along) but because it's important to make sure the consistency and butter:sugar ratio is right. I would suggest a 1 part butter to 2 part icing sugar ratio, with the stated amount of treacle/water and vanilla to combine, but it's really best judged by eye and taste. You're looking for a soft yet stiff texture.
  • Firstly, mix your softened butter and add the icing sugar.
  • In a mug/small dish add the small amount of water at boiling temperature to the treacle, this will help the treacle combine and stop it sticking to the dish/mug.
  • If you've gone a bit overboard on the water front, add some more icing sugar.
  • Add the vanilla and mix well. Do not be tempted to add more butter if it looks 'dry', just keep whisking, because it will suddenly come together. (If after 4 minutes it's still not come together, add a bit more butter)
  • Now make sure to taste the buttercream and make sure you adjust the ingredients to taste.
  • If your cakes aren't cool, cover your buttercream and pop it in the fridge. You can make the sugar spun decoration now to pass the time. (the worst part of baking is undoubtedly waiting for the cakes to cool, but I repeat,

  • Now, we tried two sugar-spinning methods, and found our attempt without water was more successful, however, if you prefer the sugar/water method, feel free to use it, but I chose to just use caster sugar alone.
  • Take a good (but not special or precious - this gets messy!) pan, and place about half a standard mug full of caster sugar into it.
  • Before you start, make sure you have a sheet of baking parchment prepped, the kettle boiled (to pour into your pan as soon as you've finished with your sugar - it stops it sticking) and a spoon to hand.
  • Turn the heat on to a medium-high setting and DO NOT STIR the sugar, not even a little bit, don't touch it, full stop. 
  • The sugar will start to turn golden, and you know it is ready when it turns a burnt orange/brown colour and starts to smoke a little (not too much though!) TOP TIP: If you drop a bit of the caramel into water, it should instantly form a ball-like shape and solidify, this is how you know it is done.
  • When it's done, turn it off the heat and transport it to a heat proof surface next to your baking parchment.
  • You need to act fast, because it will rapidly cool.
  • Take a spoon and dip it into your caramel and dangle from a height, lightly pulling at the strands that fall from it. CAREFUL BECAUSE IT WILL BE MOLTEN. The height enables the caramel time to cool and you just need to lightly pinch the falling caramel (please just make sure you don't burn yourself). If you're doing it right, you'll end up with breakable strands that create gorgeous decorations for any cake. 
  • Now, on another note, once you've created your sugar strands, fill your used pan with boiling water and a bit of washing up liquid to stop it sticking and make cleaning easier.
  • Once your cakes are cool, you can pipe and decorate to your hearts content, and what you'll be left with are gorgeous,soft, caramel cupcakes, that look and taste gorgeous!
If you try or like the look of this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! I hope you liked this post, I certainly enjoyed making these and I promise I'll be back with some healthier options soon too (but a little bit of something sweet never hurt anyone right?!)


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