Caramel-Mocha-Sea Salt Cupcakes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

This cupcake is a combination of salty and sweet blended with mocha and is one of the most requested flavors at Dreamcakes Bakery.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes

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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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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