Thursday, 24 May 2012

Turtle Cupcakes

OK, let me warn you all, this is going to be a LONG post. But totally worth it, these cupcakes are more than amazing. They literally melt in your mouth, they make you drool when you see them, and they may actually change your life when you try them.
After my initial adventures on my Quest for the Perfect Cupcake (Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting and Red Velvet Cupcakes), I knew that I wanted to get back to my favorite base flavors: chocolate, caramel and nuts. I knew that I wanted something decadent, but not too sweet, and I think I found it.
After deciding that I wanted to turn a Turtle chocolate into a cupcake, I hit the Internet running and found a website that will make you DROOL. Like on the screen. At BakersRoyale.com there are so many incredible recipes and tutorials on the site, you could literally spend hours finding your next baking adventure.
I had Kraft Caramel Bits on hand, so I decided to make the caramel sauce and caramel buttercream using these little dots of deliciousness. Other than that, I stuck pretty close to the recipe. Warning though – don’t start this recipe unless you have an entire evening free. There are four distinct parts to this recipe, and all four of them require cooking and then cooling the components for the cupcake: The cupcake, the caramel filling, caramel buttercream and the buttered pecans.
So, without further ado,

Turtle Cupcakes - adapted from BakersRoyale.com
Chocolate cupcakes with caramel filling, topped with caramel buttercream and toasted, buttered pecans.
Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel Sauce (to fill cupcake hole):
1 bag Kraft Caramel bits
2/3 cup whipping cream
Caramel Buttercream:
½ bag Kraft caramels
½ tsp salt
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dark rum
Brown Sugar Pecans:
1cup pecans
6 tablespoon butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 salt
Instructions:
Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
Bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before filling with caramel.
 Caramel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, over low heat, melt caramel bits, and whipping cream. Using a wire whisk, gently stir until mixture is completely smooth.
Caramel Buttercream:
Make another batch of caramel sauce as in instructions above.
Whisk egg yolks, two tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Slowly add hot caramel while whisking mixture.
Pour combined mixture back into saucepan over medium low heat, stirring continuously until mixture coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the stand-mixer bowl. Beat the mixture with the wire whip at medium speed until it is light and cool. Make sure the mixture at this point is completely cool before adding the butter. Replace wire whip with the paddle attachment. 2 tablespoons at a time, beat in the softened butter at medium speed. When all of the butter has been incorporated, beat the buttercream on high until mixture is light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute). Reduce the speed and beat in the vanilla and rum. Increase the speed once again and beat the buttercream for another minute, until it’s light and creamy.
** Note, when I made this icing, I found it to be quite creamy and not stiff enough to pipe into a big, pretty pile of goodness on top of my cupcakes. In hindsight, I should have chilled the icing for about 20 minutes in the fridge and then whipped it again in the mixer. But by this stage it was 10:30pm and I was exhausted, so the icing went onto the cupcakes. Not tall and beautiful, but definitely creamy and tasty!!
Brown Sugar Pecans:
Line bake sheet with foil.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat; add brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir for one minute and remove from heat. Continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves.
Toss pecans in mixture and spread over baking sheet, making sure to break up any clumps that may have formed. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, stirring half way through.
How to Bring It All Together:
Poke hole in top of cupcake and fill with caramel sauce.

Using a close star tip pipe top of cupcake, then drizzle chocolate sauce and caramel sauce and sprinkle brown sugar pecans on top.
Phew! That was a LONG post, I hope you’re still here! 
I will be linking this post to a couple of my favorite blog linky parties. Come check them out ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons, SerenityNowBlog, and Delightful Order, ~ There are SO many awesome links to visit!
If you like this recipe, I would love for you to Pin it!


I'm also linking up here: Somewhat Simple

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