Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

I have been blogging for almost five years and have never posted a chocolate cake recipe. It is time to add one. I love the flavor of chocolate combined with caramel. It works particularly well in these cupcakes. My children often request them for school events and Valentine’s Day. The creamy caramel frosting is also delicious with yellow, white or spice cake. If you are pressed for time, a good alternative to cooked caramel frosting is chocolate flavored whipped cream made using cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla to taste. The chocolate cake recipe will yield about 35 cupcakes or one 9×13 pan of cake. The recipe is adapted from Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. water
1/2 c. cocoa powder (I like Callebaut brand)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-3/4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
3 large eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. In a saucepan combine butter, water, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk on medium heat until butter is melted and you have a syrupy chocolate mixture. It should take about 7 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar and cinnamon. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well. Fill cupcake liners half full with cake batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack 5 minutes in muffin tins, then remove cupcakes from tins and cool on rack. Make the caramel frosting while cupcakes are baking. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Makes 35 cupcakes.

Caramel Frosting
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. packed light brown sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1-2 drops vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar

Combine butter, brown sugar, and salt in a 1-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Whisk often while the butter and sugar melts. When the caramel is almost to the boiling point add evaporated milk and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Let boil for half a minute or so. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Whisk for 2 minutes, then add the vanilla. Let cool, whisking occasionally (it should take about 30 minutes). Sift the powdered sugar slowly over the cooled caramel, whisking constantly to avoid lumps in the frosting. Spread over cooled cake.


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