I apologize for my disappearance lately...there have been tons of things happening in my life lately, and this entire month has been one huge blur! I've been busy studying for school, baking cupcakes, going to San Diego, going to Las Vegas, but most importantly...
Woohoo! I'll spare you the details of the proposal, but will say that it was absolutely perfect and I couldn't be happier. Tony and I have been living together for over 3 years now, and are very confident that this is the right time and right move for us and our relationship. Hopefully I'll be able to add wedding planning onto my "to-do" list without significantly affecting the schedule of this blog...maybe I'll even fill you all in on a few details here and there, as we go through the process.
For now, lets get back to the REAL reason why you're reading this post: Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes!
These cupcakes are so great I can't say enough good things about them. The cupcake starts with a moist chocolate-coffee cake base, filled with caramel sauce and topped with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and a caramel drizzle. The caramel drizzle on top is such an easy way to decorate a cupcake, yet gives such an amazing, attractive appearance. It makes me want to dive right in...literally.
Before I even start talking about the taste of these cupcakes, I must mention how good they smell! Maybe it's crazy to mention this but while baking these cupcakes, they gave the room an incredible scent. Even my
In addition to the smell, the flavor of these cupcakes is unbelievable. They are so indulgent and satisfying without being too sugary sweet. The cupcake is chocolate-y, but not too rich, with a flavor similar to devil's food cake. The Swiss meringue frosting is sweet, but not dense and sugary like a typical buttercream Topped off with the addition of caramel, it's the perfect balance of flavors.
These cupcakes are one of my favorites so far on the blog, so I think it's definitely worth the time to make these again! Feel free to take a shortcut and use store-bought caramel sauce if the homemade caramel step is deterring you. I don't think it will make a significant difference to the end result and will still be satisfyingly good. Also, keep in mind that the batter is much more liquidy than typical cupcake batters so don't be alarmed; once baked, the cupcakes will be solid.
Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes
Print this recipe
Yield: 18-20 cupcakes
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Sweet Tooth, caramel sauce and frosting adapted from Annie's Eats
For the cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed, hot coffee
1 tsp espresso powder*
For the caramel:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
*Espresso powder can be found at some specialty food stores; I highly recommend King Arthur brand espresso powder.
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pan with liners.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Brew the coffee and dissolve the espresso powder in the coffee.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla together on medium speed until well combined.
With the mixer on slow speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.
Remove mixing bowl from mixer, add the coffee and hand-stir until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Fill cupcake liners a little more than halfway, and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
For the caramel sauce:
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar begins to foam a bit. It will look and smell like it's on the verge of burning. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Stir until the sauce is smooth (you may need to return it to the heat to smooth it out). Let cool. (This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
For the frosting:
Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8-10 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. At this point the frosting may begin to look soupy or curdled, but don't panic; continue to beat on medium-high speed until it becomes thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more. Stir in the vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated. (Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.)
Fill plastic squeeze bottle (or piping bag) with caramel sauce. Poke tip into center of cupcake and squeeze until caramel fills the center and caramel oozes out of the top. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
Fill piping bag fitted with a decorative tip with frosting. Decorate cupcakes as desired. Drizzle tops of each cupcake with remaining caramel sauce. Cupcakes may be kept at room temperature if consuming the same day, otherwise, store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.