Caramel-Mocha-Sea Salt Cupcakes




Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

Ingredients:
  • Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 cups boiling water 
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate extract
  • Paper baking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray 
  • Mocha Frosting:
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 2 (16-oz.) packages powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream 
  • Toppings:
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Candy espresso beans
  • Caramel Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup whipping cream 



Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cocoa and 2 cups boiling water in a large heatproof bowl, stirring until blended and smooth; cool completely. Beat butter with a mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate extract.
  • Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely.
  • To prepare frosting, beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with cream, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Makes about 5 cups.
  • To prepare drizzle, cook butter and sugar in a 2-qt. heavy metal saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is caramel-colored, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, stirring constantly until blended. Return to heat, and bring to a boil; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
  • Frost each cupcake with Mocha Frosting using metal tip no. 12. Drizzle each cupcake with Caramel Drizzle; top each with about 1/8 tsp. sea salt and 1 espesso bean.



Note:
The folks at Dreamcakes say that if you're dying to try this recipe but don't have coffee extract in your pantry, you can dissolve 2 Tbsp. instant espresso in 1/4 cup hot water as a substitution.

Jan Moon, Dreamcakes Bakery, Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes, Oxmoor House
2011