Being the total perfectionist that I am, I hate making mistakes. Every once in a while, a mistake creates something wonderful. This is what happened with these Vanilla Caramel Crunch cupcakes. I added the caramel to the buttercream while it was still hot and it turned into a glaze consistency. So instead of just throwing it away, I decided to try and use it. Turned out to be the best mistake I ever made.
Vanilla Caramel Crunch Cupcakes
- 5 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
- 1 lb (2 cups) room temperature butter
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- candy thermometer
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
for the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. You also need to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. This is very important.
- In a medium bowl combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and remaining milk, and mix on a low speed until just combined. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 2 separate batches, beat on medium speed until it is just combined. (No more than 45 seconds after each addition)
- Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 – 2/3 full. This cake tends to rise quite a bit, so anything over that will overflow.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, but make sure you rotate the pan halfway through. You will know the cake is done when a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center or when you press the top of the cupcake with your finger and the cake bounces back. Let cool on racks until cooled completely.
for the buttercream:
- In a small sauce pan put 3/4 cup of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer).
- While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until they reach soft peaks.
- Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
- Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, immediately add it to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
- Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Divide the buttercream in half and set one half aside.
for the caramel :
- Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.
- Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high.
- At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the saucepan handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so.
- After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from a light amber to medium amber and then finally to a dark reddish brown color. Once the mixture starts to smoke, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine.
- Add the warm caramel a little bit at a time to half of the buttercream mixture. You will use about half of the caramel – the buttercream should become a liquid like mixture and have a rich brown color.
Those are written directions, but check out this Salted Caramel Tutorial for more information.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes with the plain vanilla buttercream.
- Once that is done, dip just the top of the cupcake into the warm caramel buttercream. (If the caramel buttercream starts to solidify, put it in the microwave for a few seconds)
- Then add chocolate crunch pearls on top for a little extra something. Sometimes these pearls are hard to find at the grocery store, but most cake supply shops have them, and you can find them here.