Thursday, October 13, 2011

Caramel-filled Crunchie Cupcakes

So, I realize it's been far too long since I last posted a quality recipe post on my blog. I apologize deeply for this... not only to my followers, but to myself. I don't know what's come over me... I really don't. I'd like to blame everything else that's been going on in my life for interrupting my passion for baking and cooking, but that'd just be a cop-out. Sure, work's been stressful (since I have to make up for all of the shifts I swapped to go on my holidays) but who hasn't had to deal with hectic work schedules every now and then. Yes, maybe I've been having some relationship issues on my mind but again, I'm not the only one. So, today I decided to kick myself in the butt and actually make something.

This recipe's for my friend James. It's his birthday tomorrow and he's all sad about being somewhere where he knows very few people, but mostly he's all down about being a year older. I say, "Heck to that! You're only as old as you feel!" And he has got to be the most fun-loving, energetic and just plain wonderful person I have the pleasure of knowing :D

For this recipe, I decided to use one of my favourite chocolate bars and turn it into a cupcake. I dunno, cupcakes seem to be all the rage nowadays. What with all these gourmet bakeries specializing in just cupcakes, and shows like Cupcake Wars on the Food Network getting so much attention. So, I thought I'd join in with the crowd.

Caramel-filled Crunchie Cupcake

Cupcake Ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp each baking soda and salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp molasses (or corn syrup if unavailable)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup whole milk

Caramel Drizzle Ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream

Caramel Filling:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1/2 cup whipping cream

Whipped Cream Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Garnish/Other Ingredients:
- 6 Crunchie Chocolate Bars (cut 18 big-chunks for topping the cupcakes; and then roughly chop the remaining bars)

Cupcake Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350degrees, and prepare the cupcake tins (grease tins well, or use liners)
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat butter until fluffy, add in the sugars and when combined, slowly add in one egg at a time. Add in molasses/corn syrup and vanilla.
4. Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk + milk into the butter mixture. Continue to mix until well combined.
5. Add in the roughly chopped pieces of Crunchie, and pour batter into the prepared tins (~2/3 full) and bake for 15-20minutes.
6. Remove cakes from oven, cool and slice in half.

Caramel Drizzle Method:
1. Place sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the corn syrup. Heat pan on medium-high and wait for sugar to melt. Once sugar mixture has turned a dark amber, remove from heat and add in the cream. Allow to cool and use for drizzling the cupcakes when ready.

Caramel Filling Method:
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, add in the sugar and corn syrup. Stir continuously over medium heat for 6-8minutes, or until mixture turns a deep amber.
2. Pour in the cream, and continue to cook for 1-2minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to a spreadable consistency.

Whipped Cream Frosting/filling:
1. In a metal bowl, whip the whipping cream until fluffy and firm. Add in the powdered sugar and mix well. Set aside for cupcake assembly.

1. Take top off of a halved cupcake.
2. Spread on a thin layer of whipped cream frosting, followed by a layer of caramel filling.
3. Place top of cupcake back on.
4. Top cupcake with a heaping tbsp of whipped cream frosting. Drizzle on the caramel sauce, sparingly; and top with a chunky piece of Crunchie.

It actually felt really good going back into the kitchen to make something more than a packet of noodles, tea, a sandwich or some sort of frozen dinner. I missed the feeling of being creative and getting my hands dirty; putting effort and love into making dishes is a lot of fun... but I think for a while there, it was becoming more of a chore to up-keep this blog than it was a joy. Hopefully, I'll get back into the groove... and if ever you're worried about whether or not I'm actually still around, check out my tumblr :P I'll probably be on that.