Not the best but it could be much worse.
I decided to start off with something simple for the first go round, so I went with Brown Batter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream. Like the airhead that I am, I whoopsidentally didn't put white sugar in this batter. However, they turned out quite well. The brown sugar was much more obvious in the batter and the cupcakes were subtly sweet, a nice compliment to the very rich frosting.
Brown Batter Cupcakes:
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 butter, room temp
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour.
Divide Batter into 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 min. Frost with Caramel Buttercream.
First, Caramel Drizzle:
(I thought about just buying pre-made caramel sauce to add to the frosting but I am so glad I didn't. This drizzle was easy to make and tasted amaze-balls.)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream
In a high sided saucepan, cook the sugar over med-high heat until it begins to melt around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stirring with a wooden spoon, continue to the cook the sugar until it becomes melted. About 3 minutes longer. Add the cream down the side of the pan and continue to stir the mixture constantly until it becomes smooth. Pour the caramel into a small bowl and allow to cool completely.
I don't think that I let the sugar get hot enough because when I poured the cream in it hardened the sugar and I ended up have to strain some hard clumps of sugar out in the end because they wouldn't melt. I also didn't allow time for the cream to reach room temp, so that could have been a factor as well. Also, the lighter the caramel is the sweeter it will be. The darker it is the more bitter it becomes.
All in all this drizzle turned out so yummy.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar (If you prefer your buttercream to be more stiff and sweet add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency and taste)
Beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar gradually on low speed until it is all combined. Increase the speed and beat for another minute or until well incorporated and fluffy. Next, add the cooled caramel drizzle to the frosting. I only used about 3/4 of the drizzle in the frosting itself. You can incorporate the drizzle completely like I did or add it until just incorporated so that it is more of a swirled look. Drizzle some caramel on top of the cupcakes for even more delciousness.
*I modified the recipes in Cupcakes by Sally Kaldunski to make these recipes.