Salted Caramel Cupcakes
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs, must be at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk (or even buttermilk, do not use skim milk or 1% milk)
*You can also use store bought salted caramel sauce
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon fleur de sel or sea salt flakes
- ¾ cup butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup salted caramel sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line 12 Paper Baking Cups on a cookie sheet.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.
6. Mix in the dry ingredients until no flour remains, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly stir in the milk. (Do not overmix the batter)
7. Fill each Paper Baking Cup ½ way full with batter.
8. Bake cupcakes for 22-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the salted caramel frosting. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don't burn it.
9. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking sugar.
10. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel.
11. You want the caramel to reach 248°F. (If you are new to making caramel, I suggest using a thermometer.)
12. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.
13. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel or sea salt flakes.
14. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large jar and cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting:
Beat the butter in the bowl of a standard mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add the salted caramel sauce. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high heat and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting and drizzle cupcakes with extra salted caramel sauce, if desired.