Ideas and inspiration for cupcakes come from so many different places.
Whether I want to trial a new buttercream, recreate an irresistible instagrammable bake or mix and match some recently discovered recipes, baking is all about taking something you love and making it your own.
For my latest salted caramel chocolate cupcakes recipe, it is chocolate covered pretzels that take centre stage.
I was introduced to Hotel Chocolat and their nibbly pot late last year as part of a Christmas hamper given to us by a happy client at work.
Sweet and salty flavour combinations are so popular and although my mind can’t fathom the two working together, my taste buds bloody love it. That’s why, after discovering their pretzels nibbly pot, I just had to create a cupcake recipe that would do these little pieces of heaven justice.
My chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream recipe was inspired by a Hummingbird Bakery masterpiece. I love this recipe as the chocolate cupcakes are sticky and indulgent without being too heavy – just the way chocolate cupcakes should be!
I have made a few tweaks and changes to the recipe (in true Cupcaker style) and opted for a lighter, whippier salted caramel buttercream to finish these bad boys off. Pop a pretzel on top and you’ve got yourself a sweet and savoury match made in heaven.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes –
- 70g Unsalted Butter (I use Stork)
- 250g Caster Sugar
- 170g Plain Flour
- 50g Cocoa Powder
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 210ml Whole Milk
- 2 Large Eggs
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream –
- 200g Unsalted Butter (I use Lescure)
- 450g Sifted Icing Sugar
- 40g tinned salted caramel sauce (I opted for a Marks and Spencer one)
- 4 tbsp Whole Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar on a high speed until pale and fluffy. Using a sieve, sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and cocoa powder) into the same mixing bowl until the mixture forms a crumb like consistency.
3. Add the beaten eggs and milk with the mixer on a low speed until thoroughly combined. Gradually increase the speed to medium until the batter is completely smooth, ensuring there are no lumps.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into each cupcake case and bake for around 25 mins (it will differ with every oven and how much mixture you have placed in each case so check to see if a knife comes out clean, if it doesn’t, they may need an extra 5 mins). Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before piping the salted caramel buttercream on top.
5. In the meantime, you can make the salted caramel buttercream. Pop your butter into the mixer and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until it goes really smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar into the bowl in two stages, beating for 5 minutes between each addition. Remember to start the mixing on a low speed to avoid your icing sugar going everywhere!
6. Next, add the whole milk and vanilla extract (I pre-mix these liquids in a bowl to help the wet mixture combine with the buttercream better). Speed up the mixer for one last time on high for another 5 minutes. Lastly, add in the salted caramel sauce and mix on a low speed until it is fully incorporated.
7. Once your cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to pipe! Place the salted caramel buttercream into a piping bag and splodge a generous blob on top (I have used an open circular nozzle for my cakes). Simply squeeze the buttercream in the centre of the cakes until it almost covers them and slowly pull upwards and do one circular motion round the blob to get your added height. Place a pretzel on top and enjoy!