BF&F – Best Friends and Foodies

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Toffee Crumbs – Bumpkin

This last week has been out of control!  Saturday was the last day of the fiscal year at work so I worked until the wee hours of the morning.  Then I get a phone call at 7:30am on Sunday regarding a family emergency.  I am trying to get back into the groove of things.  I figured a little baking, you know NORMAL life stuff, would help.  I got it done but was soooo tired yesterday I ended up falling asleep before the kids’ bedtimes and just didn’t get around to posting.  🙂

I got this fantastic gift box from my boss on Friday as a ‘thank you for the hard work’ during fiscal year end.  So, baking this week was actually kind of decided for me.  CUPCAKES!  I used the chocolate cake mix, followed the directions to a T and still the cupcakes, while tasting AWESOME, were totally flat!  The recipe calls for melted, then cooled butter.  I took this to mean down to room-temp but I feel now that maybe it should have been refrigerated to a cooler temp.  Or maybe altitude.  I don’t know, they were REALLY yummy, just not as pretty (as you can see from the photo) as they could have been.

I used the book enclosed, cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski, to get the butter cream recipe.  I added about 3/4c of Enstrom Caramel Ice Cream topping (which is also superb to dip apple slices into!) to the butter cream to make it even yummier!  Enstrom is a local candy company that makes the world’s best toffee, of which I added their toffee crumbs when decorating my already ugly cupcakes 🙂  Enstrom DOES ship, so I suggest you give them a try!

Something to note, I once learned on Alton Brown that if you get ANY egg yolk into your egg whites you will have a difficult time whipping whites to a fluffy consistency, no matter how hard you try.  Take it from me, also…this is TRULY the case.  It was about 95 degrees outside, at least as hot in my baking kitchen AND I had a dab of yolk in my whites..my buttercream was delicious, but not fluffy.  Maybe, “normal” baking this week should have just been out of the question with everything else going on.

Please excuse the photograph because on top of my baking failures the good camera also had dead batteries.  So, I had to take a photo with the cell phone!  While the cupcakes already aren’t as pretty as I pictured in my head, the good camera would have at least had better lighting and made them look more appealing.  However, I PROMISE the flavor of these cupcakes was divine and the entire batch was devoured by my family! You should try Williams-Sonoma chocolate cupcake mix, I still have the vanilla to “test” and check out Shelly Kaldunski’s cookbook as well. 

Caramel Buttercream

adapted from cupcake by Shelly Kaldunski

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
  • flavoring of choice – I added 3/4c of caramel ice cream topping

Let’s Make It!

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar.  Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat hte mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160degrees on instant-read thermometer), 2-5minutes.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), 5-10minutes.

With the miser on med-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few peices at a time, beating well after each addition.  If the frosting appears to seperate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy (I also kept putting it back in the refrigerator for a minute or two at a time because it was SOOOO hot in my kitchen the butter was melting), 3-5minutes more.  Add the flavoring(s) of choice and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

If not using right away, this buttercream can be made, with flavorings, in advance and refergerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  Before using the buttercream, bring it to room temperature and meat it on med-low speed until smooth.

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