I love the snow. Freshly fallen snow that is, untouched by human. The aftermath of snow, I hate. I mean it goes all icy which means there’s 95% chance I’ll fall . Then it goes black and slushy and just horrible. At the moment, where I live, we are at the icy stage so it not takes me 3 times as longer to walk (and by walk, I mean waddle) up the road. Salted caramel is a thing of beauty and since the fresh untouched snow has gone I had to replace it with these instead. It’s an extraordinary marriage of sweet and savoury flavours. Whether combined in chocolates, brownies, cookies or my personal favourite cupcakes of course. And what a perfect way to start off the Valentines baking with some of these smooth and seductively caramel filled cupcakes.
‘Caramel au beurre salé which translates to Salted Butter Caramel was first commercialised by Henri Le Roux in 1977. In 1980 the craze of this salted butter caramel escalated through Brittany and is a much-loved treat that can be found in many chocolate shops, bakeries and patisseries today. It is also a favourite of Kitchen Goddess, Nigella Lawson
This cake may not seem a traditional bake for valentines. Valentines bakes are full of pink and reds, hearts and champagne but I decide to stay well away from that on this post as I wanted to do something different. I made a basic vanilla cupcake mix with hints of mixed spice, then stuffed them with a salted caramel so when you bite into the cupcake you are hit the smooth caramel finished with creamy not too sweet vanilla butter cream, with extra caramel and little flecks of black sea salt which adds that perfect balance of sweet and savoury. I didn’t find the butter cream that sweet when I first tried it so added more sugar to enhance the sweetness without it being sickly sweet with the rest of the components. If you can’t find black sea salt ordinary sea salt will do
For the cupcake…
150g soft butter
100g soft brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp mixed spice
175g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1tbsp hot water
For the filling and drizzle…
100g nestle caramel
10g salted butter
Black sea salt/ white sea salt
For the buttercream…
120g soft butter
100g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases
Cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, mixed spice, salt, plain flour and baking powder and mix till combined.
Add the eggs and mix this in before adding the hot water.
Scoop or spoon this into the cases and bake for 18 mins on middle shelf or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a cooling rack whilst making the filing. Melt the salted butter in the microwave and stir into the caramel and allow to cool.
Beat the icing sugar and butter till white then add the salt and the vanilla and beat till incorporated.
Using a small knife or spoon dig a small hole into the centre of the cupcake. Fill the hole with caramel and finish of with swirls of buttercream, caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of sea salt