Home cooking: Mocha Salted Caramel Cupcakes

June 22, 2012

Sarah Baker,

26, of Sharpsburg, is a self-taught cook, though she did have some role models.

"I learned just by going into the kitchen and through trial and error. I've just always had a love of baking," she said. "I will say my grandfather is a very avid baker. He is known for his apple pies."

Now married, Baker often cooks for her husband and parents.

"I garden, so I do a lot of fresh cooking. We eat suppers at home a lot," she said. "It's nice to go out to eat, but you can make something to your own liking at home."

Baker entered her Mocha Salted Caramel Cupcakes into The Herald-Mail's second annual Cupcake Contest. She found the flavor combination at her favorite coffee shop.
"I'm a Starbucks person. I don't know if you can say addict," she said. "They have a salted caramel frappuchino. I like the salty-sweet mix."

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Mocha Salted Caramel Cupcakes

18.25-ounce German chocolate cake mix

1 tablespoon malted milk powder

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 tablespoons instant coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine cake mix, malted milk powder, melted butter and eggs. Mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine hot water with instant coffee. Stir until dissolved and add to batter ingredients.

Fill lined cupcake tins 1/3 full and bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until done.

Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

Once cooled, remove a round piece off the top of a cupcake, fill with about 1 teaspoon of the salted caramel sauce (recipe follows), then replace top.

Top with salted caramel buttercream icing (recipe follows), and then top it off with a drizzle of the salted caramel sauce. Refrigerate until serving.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color being very careful not to burn it.

Remove from heat. Very carefully add the cream, stirring constantly. Once combined, add the salt and butter and continue stirring until both are completely melted and smooth.

Cool to room temperature before using.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick salted butter

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Stir. Cook on moderately high heat without stirring, only swirling the pan until the color begins to darken to a caramel color.

Remove from heat and immediately add the heavy cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth.

Let caramel cool until just barely pourable.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the cooled caramel and beat on high until light and airy.

— Courtesy of Sarah Baker of Sharpsburg, who entered this cupcake in The Herald-Mail's second annual Cupcake Contest

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