Okay, so we all know that I am not a big coffee person.
Unless you consider a measly 1/4 cup of actual coffee combined with 3/4 cup of fat free milk and 1 gallon of coffee creamer a “coffee person.”
It was only until recently that I realized people only use like, maybe a Tablespoon of coffee creamer at a time. And that the nutritional facts on the back specify for “one teaspoon” which, if I may go off on a brief tangent, is completely ridiculous. Who eats or drinks one teaspoon of anything? No one, that’s who. Can we like, protest to increase nutritional stats to something more logical? Like 1 cup of coffee creamer per cup? Because hello, that seems more logical than using a teaspoon. If you’re only going to use a teaspoon of coffee creamer, why spend $4 on a bottle if you can barely taste it? UGH I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORLD SOMETIMES.
Okay. Mooooving on.
Anyways, since I have basically been drinking coffee creamer straight, I’ve been stocking up. And one of my fave flavors is Salted Caramel. It tastes like Starbucks but better because I know I did not need to sell my right lung to enjoy it. And things always taste better when all of your body parts are in tact, amiriteee?
And then I got my Cakes & Cupcakes Special Edition Martha Stewart mag in the mail and spotted this gem on the cover: a Salted Chocolate-Caramel Cake, and in that second of spotting its lusciousness on the cover, I knew I was going to have it. Except for one minor problemo: I am awful at making cakes. Like, if my life depended on making a gorgeous layered cake, I would go down in the history books as “The Dead Girl Who Made The Ugliest Cake In The World.” It’d look so bad, Cakewrecks would shut down their site and be like, ‘nothing looks as bad compared to this hideous thing’ and feature my cake on the front page.
So because I didn’t want to eat some horribly lopsided, ugly duckling cake while staring at the picture of the most beautiful cake I’ve ever seen, I decided to go with a route I’m more familiar with: cupcakes. Hello, the cover of the mag does say “Cakes AND Cupcakes.” So I turned these babies into cupcakes.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix (Betty Crocker is what I used)
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 & ½ cups buttermilk (or add a Tablespoon of vinegar to 1 & ½ cups regular milk, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes)
- 1 small box chocolate instant pudding mix
- 1 jar caramel sundae sauce
- Chocolate Caramel Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)
- Coarse sea salt
- Hershey's Dark Chocolate & Caramel Bliss Candies, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, softened butter, eggs and buttermilk with a handheld electric mixer, beating until combined, about 2 mins. Stir in the pudding mix to blend.
- Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ⅔ full. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes.
- Using a toothpick, poke numerous holes over the tops of the par-cooled cupcakes. Immediately pour about a Tablespoon or so of caramel sundae sauce over the tops of the cupcakes. The sauce may sit on the top for awhile, but eventually it'll sink down into the cupcake. Alternatively, you could cut out the centers of each of the cupcakes and fill the cores with caramel sauce, but again, the cake will absorb the sauce. You can always cover the cored cupcake hole with frosting. Allow the cupcakes to finish cooling either way, and let the caramel set.
- To prepare the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened; ¼ cup cocoa; ¼ cup caramel coffee syrup (like Torani or Monin); and a teaspoon of vanilla extract until combined, about a minute. Gradually add in 4 cups powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until a light and fluffy frosting consistency is achieved.
- Place the frosting into a piping bag attached with an open star tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt and adorn tops with a dark chocolate & caramel candy. Serve immediately, or store airtight in the fridge for up to 2 days.
I think the ratio of chocolate, caramel and salt was just perfect for these cupcakes. The salt isn’t too overwhelming– in fact, it totally balances out the overt sweetness in the chocolate & caramel frosting and makes for such a decadent bite. The cake itself is super moist (sorry for using that word, but it’s true!) and light, thanks to the use of buttermilk instead of water. And I love the hint of that sweet and salty caramel swirled through the batter. I found that a lot of the caramel sank to the bottom of the cupcake, creating that really nice bite at the end. You’ll super love these, I promise!!
Thanks again to Martha Stewart for giving me a copy of her Cakes & Cupcakes magazine to review! You must pick up an issue today — it’s seriously an awesome magazine to keep on hand for all-occasion cakes and cupcakes. Also, be sure to check out my Rainbow Chip Cookie Cake which was based off a fun, giant cookie cake in the magazine!!
Have a great day!
I was provided a free copy of the magazine to review. All opinions expressed are my own.