April 22, 2013

white cupcakes with salty caramel buttercream and sauce

Have you ever tried caramel cakes or cupcakes or sweet and salty kind of things? Or at least having a cup of refreshing caramel-topped ice blended? I've never been a huge fan of Starbucks though but I read a few reviews online that their Signature Caramel Frappuccino Blended Crème is freakin’ delicious. If you had read my previous post a month ago on these cupcakes, I’m not sure if I wrote it or not, but I was so impressed on how caramel would be perfectly complimented with chocolate. So this time I wondered if White Cupcakes filled with caramel sauce and topped with Salty Caramel Buttercream drizzled with a bit of sea salt would be fine too.

I saw these cupcakes continuously floating around the web and although they seem like a big hit among them, but still I was kind of suspicious with . . . salty cake? What? Salty you say? Drizzled with sea salt? I've never ate even a slice of cake that has “salty” in its name since I was born. Okay, I may or may not be the only one who didn't know their existence. Since I still have some leftover of my homemade caramel sauce, and I really have no idea what to be paired with it, I knew that this is the right time to wipe out my suspicion and curiosity with those innocent salty cakes – I decided to try out this Salty Caramel Buttercream topped on white cupcakes and YES they are absolutely right! These cupcakes are innocently darn delicious!

I found the inspiration from Gimme Some Oven and she paired it with white cupcakes made from white cake mix. Again, I know I have some sort of suspicion (or the correct way to call it as insecure) syndrome with a lot of things including cake mixes. Well, with all the preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients in processed foods, I would just rather try to make a simple cake from things I’m familiar with. Plus, it’s much more fancy to be from scratch!  I know that maybe I can never fully achieve the cake taste and texture you’re used to from the box but I really liked this recipe – the taste was spot on, with a moist texture, fairly dense and almost perfect. They baked up really well too and definitely would be in my baking repertoire. The truth is, the cake itself is another one to be listed in my favorite cakes!

Oh did I mention that this is actually a white cake mix substitution? I stumbled upon it when scrolling down over Your Cup of Cake. The thing is, you can sift all the 6 ingredients altogether and seal it in a plastic bag and just use it for any recipe that calls for “white or yellow cake mix” (Yay for that!). Ya know, life is easier nowadays – I sifted the ingredients to make my own white cake mix a day before and whip up these white cupcakes for only 5 minutes?! Yes, that is what a cake mix can do for you and most bakeries use cake mixes in their baking, that being said. Hmmm . . .  
So another suspicion that came out (I know I’m such an annoying novice baker) was – the substitution calls for powdered milk. Will it taste like a milky cake? Will it smells like baby milk? No, I’m always wrong with my suspiciounesscity or so. I promise you won’t taste milk, but rather a yummy white cake filled with caramel sauce which is completely a great combination

White Cupcakes with Salty Caramel Buttercream and Sauce
yield about 24 cupcakes


for the white cake mix substitute:
adapted from Your Cup of Cake

2 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar*
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup powdered milk

for the cupcakes:
adapted from Gimme Some Oven

1 batch white cake mix, recipe above.
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. almond extract or vanilla extract or just leave it out
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

for the caramel sauce:

1 batch from the recipe here, or store-bought is just fine

for the frosting:
adapted from dailydelicious

3/4 cup butter
3 tbsp. caramel sauce**
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp. milk
A pinch of salt
Sea salt, for sprinkle, optional


for the white cake mix substitute:
1. Sift all ingredients together.
2. Seal in a plastic bag and use in place of any recipe calling for "white cake mix".

for the cupcakes:
1. Add the sifted cake mix, buttermilk, oil, almond extract and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, 2 minutes longer.
2. Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

for the caramel sauce:
1. Make the caramel sauce by following the method from here, and add ½ tsp. of salt or sea salt (optional).
2. Use the apple corer or small cookie cutter or a small knife like I did here, to remove the center of each cupcake. Fill with caramel sauce. 

for the frosting:
1. Beat the ingredients for the frosting starting from butter, caramel sauce, icing sugar, then milk.
2. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Decorate with caramel sauce and drizzle with a bit of sea salt.

  • * For Malaysians, I would recommend to lessen the sugar amount. I used 1 ½ cups.
  • **I used my home-made caramel sauce I made from here and reheat it up for few seconds and add ½ tsp. of salt (keep a close eye as it will burn pretty quickly thereafter!). For the frosting, I added 1 tbsp. of caramel sauce instead of 3 tbsp.
  • Watch the oven closely around 12 minutes; these cupcakes can over-bake rather quickly.
  • As usual, cupcakes are best eaten the day they are made. But they can be kept either at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate them for up to a week.
  • You can make the caramel sauce a day before you make the cupcakes and refrigerate it. Reheat it up and let it cool before using. See my notes on caramel sauce here.
  • I used an unbranded closed star decorating tip no. 508 to frost the cupcakes.
  • If you want to make swirls like I did on my cupcakes, I would recommend making a double batch of the frosting. But if you’re just spreading it on with a knife, one batch should be plenty :)
  • If you are not a fan of buttercream or caramel, just leave them out because the white cake itself is soo soo delicious!

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