This year I really wanted to dust off my great aunt's treacle toffee recipe and give it a go but knowing the mess it makes my dad convinced me not to bother for fear I would mess up our new oven. Instead, I chose caramel cupcakes from The Humminbird Bakery Cake Days book, which is where the Malteaser cupcake recipe came from.
I read a blog post today by Joy the Baker who was giving general blogging tips, in which she said: "Work hard to make it look easy…. and just be ok with the fact that it’s totally not easy." I'm not going to do that. This blog isn't me trying to be an expert, it's just me sharing things I enjoy as I find them and that includes attempting to learn to bake. That's why there are always notes alongside the original recipes saying what I did instead. I do hope you don't mind.
Ingredients for the sponge:
- 80g unsalted butter, softened
- 280g caster sugar
- 240g plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 240 ml whole milk (I know it's supposed to be whole because it tastes better but I actually used semi-skimmed. I found myself forever throwing away the end of a bottle of whole milk because we just don't use it in our house.)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 large eggs (I only had medium so I used 3.)
- 150g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
Ingredients for the frosting:
- 500g icing sugar (This amount of icing sugar just seems a bit mad to me. I was always taught 2 parts icing sugar to 1 part butter so I used 320g of icing sugar instead.)
- 160g unsalted butter, softened
- 50ml whole milk
- 100g tinned caramel or dulce de leche (I added an extra spoonful), plus extra to decorate (I grated a small bar of Cadbury's dairy milk and used that instead.)
1. Preheat the oven to 190 C/Gas mark 5, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until crumb like in consistency.
3. Place the milk and vanilla essence into a jug with the eggs and whisk until combined. Pour 3/4 of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the remaining milk mixture and the tinned caramel, and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.
4. Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each by 2/3. Any remaining batter can be used to fill additional cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch. (During this time I was panicking. The cakes got rather brown rather quickly and then seemed to explode from the middle...something that has never happened to me before so all I can think to blame is the caramel. Despite me stressing they were burnt they tasted really good and not even slightly burnt.) Leave to cool for a while in the tin, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Beat the icing sugar with the butter until combined and still powdery in texture. Mix in the milk, and once it is incorporated whisk until light and fluffy. Add the caramel and beat well.
6. Spoon the frosting on to the cupcakes once they have cooled, smoothing it on with a palette knife and swirling the frosting. (This never works for me, even after refrigerating the frosting first the swirl lasts for about 5 minutes and that's it. It's probably because I didn't use the full amount of icing sugar but these were so sweet I was really glad I didn't.)
7. If you want to decorate the cakes, spoon some tinned caramel or dulce de leche into a piping bag with a small nozze and pipe onto the cakes in little hearts or whatever shape takes your fancy. (I used grated chocolate instead because this seemed like unnecessary hassle as my family would eat them too quickly and because the chocolate had the benefit or covering up the fact the frosting wasn't expertly swirled.)