Salted Caramel Cupcakes
September…The first time I hear this word at the end of the summer I immediately wish for changing leaves, sweaters, hot cocoa, and lots of baking. I’ve never actually lived in a place that had an official fall so I guess my thoughts about September are conjured up from, well, advertising. I have been turning on the oven and doing a lot of baking lately, even though are no changing leaves, or sweaters being worn around here (in fact, this morning I was sitting on the beach watching my kids surf!).
A few weeks ago, while on a date with my husband in Seaside, we came upon a cupcake stand selling salted caramel cupcakes. I couldn’t resist trying one since the contrast of caramel and salt is one of my favorites. My husband was laughing at me because while we were eating our cupcakes I was telling him exactly how I was going to recreate it at home with all organic ingredients (I know, a very romantic topic of conversation). So here is my recipe to share with you today. These rustic cupcakes have just enough sweetness with deep flavors of caramel and yummy bits of salt.
These cupcakes keep well for a few days in an airtight container stored in the fridge. The cupcakes (without frosting) also freeze well.
- 3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground Celtic sea salt or fleur de sel
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 eggs and 1 yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucant
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground Celtic sea salt
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup caramel (recipe below)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (I like to use "if you care" unbleached muffin liners).
Over a large bowl sift the flour. (This is a very important step!) You will have approximately 1/3 cup of outer kernels of the wheat left over, discard of this. Add baking powder and salt to flour and whisk together.
In bowl of mixer, with beater attachment, beat butter, whole cane sugar, and molasses for 1 minute on medium until thoroughly blended. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla. With the blender on medium-low speed add about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the sour cream. Mix until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl and repeat this process using 1/3 of flour mixture and the rest of the sour cream; finish by adding the rest of the flour. Mix until just incorporated and then finish by mixing with a spatula to make sure all off the batter is incorporated.
Divide batter evenly among cups and bake 23-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely.
While cupcakes are baking, over medium heat, place water and whole cane sugar in heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not stir) and continue to let simmer until it reaches 240 degrees. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the cream (the mixture will bubble) and then add the butter. Cool to room temperature.
In bowl of mixer, with beater attachment, beat together the cream cheese and cooled caramel until there are no streaks. Gently fold in cream. Spread a generous amount of frosting on each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle with coarse ground sea salt or fleur de sel.
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