Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Tuesday, 6th July 2010

What a frustrating weekend with a few lessons learned.  Most important lesson; never make a change to your website minutes before your web developer is closed for the long weekend, if something is going to go wrong that’s usually when it happens. Unfortunately my site crashed and it wasn’t restored until late Monday afternoon. Please accept my apology.  I won’t be doing that again!

A photo of mini chocolate sauced-caramel cupcakes and a spoon filled with caramel.

I started off the weekend driving my son, Matt, to the beach.  It’s been far too long since I made this drive, I’d forgotten how beautiful it was.  So many little towns to pass by with unique little shops selling some beautiful one of a kind pieces.  I spotted a beautiful painting in one of the shops of a sailboat docked at the beach, it quickly invoked a feeling of calmness.  I’ve always loved the beach, feeling the sand between my toes and looking out onto the water, so peaceful.

A photo of mini chocolate salted-caramel cupcakes on a white dish.

I sent Matt and his buddies with a little care package of Black Forest Cupcakes and received a call about 1:00am that evening; “Thank you Mrs. Langlois, oh my god these are so good!”  I guess the cupcakes hit the spot.

A photo of mini chocolate salted-caramel cupcakes on a white dish.

I was back in the kitchen on Monday, I wanted to try salted-caramel.  I wasn’t sure if I would like it or if the kids would like it but I figured anything with chocolate must be good and how could you go wrong with caramel, who doesn’t love caramel?

A photo of 3 mini chocolate salted-caramel cupcakes on a pink mini cake stand.

When I started to review the recipe it looked so familiar to me and I realized I’d used it not long ago when I made the Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. As luck would have it the recipe called for Dark Chocolate Frosting, I just happened to have some in the freezer.

A photo of a chocolate salted-caramel cake on a white dish placed on a wooden placemat with a silver fork.

I love it when you find a good recipe and it’s so versatile.  If you didn’t get a chance to read my earlier posts, the one-bowl chocolate cupcake batter produces a very light and moist cupcake with a rich chocolate flavour and it is very easy to make, throw everything in a bowl and blend.  The dark chocolate frosting almost looks black and it is delicious.

A photo of a chocolate salted-caramel cake with a pink bow on a mini pink cake stand placed on a wooden placemat.

On to the caramel, the not so easy part of the recipe, for me that is, it took 3 attempts before I was happy with it.  I think I may need a new candy thermometer, it was reading 345° F but I could tell by the aroma and the look that I’d taken the caramel too far.  The second attempt was pure stupidity on my part I walked away for a minute when it registered at 325° F and when I got back to it I was right back to taking it too far.  The third times a charm and finally a caramel that looked that beautiful copper colour, smelled fantastic and tasted delicious.

A photo of 2 chocolate salted-caramel cakes with bows on mini cake stands placed on a wooden placemat.

It takes a bit of time to get your caramel to the right stage but be patient and if you can don’t walk away from it as I did.

A photo of 3 chocolate salted-caramel cakes on a white dish placed on a wooden placemat.

I’m always looking for easy dinner party desserts and this worked perfect as little individual cakes.   It was quite late last night when I finished assembling them but I wanted to share these treats with my next door neighbour Penny and called her over. Unfortunately we couldn’t sit and chat and taste test together (her little one was sleeping and her husband was out of town) so off she went with a little care package of little cakes and mini cupcakes for the 3 of them.  Within minutes she’d called, I thought she’d left something behind.  Her first question was “Have you tried them yet?”, “Not yet”. She couldn’t say enough about them, “The taste is indescribable, best dessert I’d ever made, no, that she’d ever eaten”.  She’d eaten 3 mini cupcakes, literally within seconds of leaving the house, she couldn’t help herself.

A photo of 3 chocolate salted-caramel cakes on a white dish placed on a wooden placemat.

I didn’t taste test the final dessert until today (I ate all the little bits after carving out the centres and couldn’t eat another bite).  The Fleur de Sel definitely brought out the buttery taste of the caramel and it also intensifies the sweetness of the cake.

A photo of 3 chocolate salted-caramel cakes on a white dish, and 2 mini chocolate salted-caramel cupcakes placed on a wooden placemat.

I leave you on this note, Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cakes are insanely delicious!

A photo of a chocolate salted-caramel cake on a white dish placed on a wooden placemat.

A photo of chocolate salted-caramel cakes, and mini cakes on a wooden placemat.

 

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Mini Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte

Comments (43)

43 Responses to “Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cakes and Mini Cupcakes”

  1. Chris Says:

    Sorry you had a rough go during your weekend! But, these cupcakes look delicious. How can you go wrong with Salted Caramel? I totally agree with you – Fleur de Sel definitely brings out the buttery taste of the caramel. I use it to top Salted Caramel ice cream and…wow!

    Can’t wait to try these cuppies!

  2. Gale Reeves Says:

    The little pink cupcake stands are so cute. And, how many shots did it take to get the caramel to flow exactly right for that perfect!!! shot?

    These look delicious!!!

  3. AvaDJ Says:

    See Grace, that’s what I’m talking about..it’s all this incredible chocolate that keeps me coming here on a regular basis. You are making my baking to do list longer by miles, oh I can’t wait to try these as well. Keep the chocolate coming, no complaints here :)

  4. Penny Says:

    Grace, your Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes & Mini Cakes are definatley a hit in my household!
    Thanks for the treats.
    We’re all looking forward to your next creation.
    Penny

  5. Grace Says:

    What are you going to do when you move, who will I share my treats with?

  6. Grace Says:

    Gale I got lucky with this one, 1st time, couldn’t believe it.

  7. Grace Says:

    I’m definitely going to have to try the ice cream! Just visited your site, oh my goodness, the torta di ricotta is calling my name, have to try this one. What a beautiful photo of your Grandmother in her wedding dress. I miss my grandmother so much! We have an Italian Bakery here in the city that carries quite a variety of essences, I will take a look for your anisette bottle, do you remember the brand? By the way, I’ve never noticed caramel chips, who carries them? I’ve been on the hunt for yogurt chips and haven’t found those either. If any ones knows where to get them would love to know. I’m heading over to your site again, must see what other Italian treats you have.

    Hey All, you must take a look at Chris’s torta di ricotta Napoletano

  8. Grace Says:

    Chocolate Lovers Unite

  9. Paula Says:

    looks absolutely awesome!

  10. Grace Says:

    Thank you Paula

  11. Ryan Says:

    Isn’t the beach such a fun place especially if you haven’t visited for a while, this recipe reminds me of my gran when I was younger. She used to make us caramel logs with hazelnut topping, yours look delicious.

  12. Grace Says:

    Ryan you must get me the recipe, I love hazelnuts and now that I’ve become an expert on caramel I could use a few new recipes.

  13. Ryan Says:

    I’ll see what I can do, might have a sneaky look in my grandmothers recipe book for you haha.

  14. Marly Says:

    I agree with everyone else here – these are so beautiful. They look good enough to eat! ;-)

  15. Mei Teng Says:

    Very chocolatey rich cupcakes :)

  16. Michelle Says:

    Salted chocolate desserts make me swoon. I love to see those specks of salt perched on top of the frosting of your cupcakes. Delicious.

  17. Grace Says:

    I wasn’t sure if I would like the salt but it was such a nice balance, its definitely become a favourite for me.

  18. Caitlin Says:

    The three recipes you gave do not give quanitites in proportion to each other. I just wasted $30 buying extremely high quality cooking chocolate and butter, etc. The frosting produced about 2/3 more than I actually needed, and that wasn’t noted in your blog.

    Of course, I couldn’t bear to THROW AWAY such an expensive frosting, so I will be baking the rest of the week.

    Also, your blog could use clarification about the caramel-making process. You use vague descriptors like “boil until caramelized”–but for someone who has never made caramel before, what the heck does “caramelized” really mean? Give me sounds, tastes, colors, textures to watch for! Who is your audience? I found that I had to take huge leaps of faith throughout the process of making these because I had no idea what to look for, or why I was even doing certain steps (after I did it, it made more sense)

    The cupcakes were delicious, however. My caramel didn’t turn out but despite this they bordered on divinity. The texture of the cakes turn out wonderfully moist and airy, and the flavors are more complex than your average chocolate cupcake–which usually taste of just sugar and nothing else.

    Despite the drawbacks I encountered, I cannot say that these were not sinfully delicious.

  19. Grace Says:

    I wanted to thank you for stopping in number one for a visit , number 2 for trying one of the recipes and number 3 leaving such a detailed comment. I really do appreciate a good critique, it will help me to learn and get better along the way. I am really quite new to blogging and baking.

    I’m not sure if you noticed but the recipes I used came from Martha Stewart, I too struggled with the caramel (not sure if you had a chance to read the post). It was the 1st time I’d tried caramel. I’m sorry if the instructions were a little vague, I will work on writing more detailed instructions, I guess I assumed (ignorant of me) that the instructions were clearer than they actually were. You are right in asking “what is my audience?” I wish I knew, I am still trying to figure what the audience is, unfortunately most visitors don’t comment and that makes it a little difficult to figure out how detailed to get. I’ve found with most frosting recipes the yield is either too much or too little because everyone’s preference is different when it comes to the amount they use to ice each cupcake. I’m not sure if you noticed in the recipe notes but you can freeze the frosting for up to 1 month, when you’re ready to use it just bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth.

    I am curious, how many cupcakes did you get out of the batch? When I made them I yielded only a few extra than the 56 the recipe stated, I just figured I under filled a few cups.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to comment and I will do my best in the future to put myself in the place of the visitor and ask myself the question if the visitor were baking for the 1st time could they follow along with the recipe with ease.

    I am very happy you enjoyed the cupcakes, especially after all the grief, I sincerely apologize for my shortcomings and I hope to do better in the future.

  20. Cat Says:

    Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the harshness of my comment earlier because I realize the recipes are Martha Stewart’s and not yours :)

    The quantity of cupcakes would be a bit off for me because my mom has cupcake tins that are a bit larger than normal cupcakes. In fact, they are more like mini-cakes.

    The batter recipe was enough for 6–however, upon reflection of the process (which I try to do and take notes on, a new endeavor!) I realize two reasons why there was SO MUCH extra frosting for me:
    1) I probably over-filled the tins–at most, I could have made 12, but it’s hard to say. The point is, because there were fewer cupcakes I used less frosting.

    2) Also, because my mini-cakes are larger than cupcakes, the overall surface area would probably be less and thus require less frosting.

    However, there was quite a bit of frosting left over. I mean, a LOT! I’m not sure if I even used 1/3, haha! I tried very hard in my note-taking to see if I made an error somehow that resulted in less batter.

    Baking for me is always an adventure and because it is so precise I try very hard to be as careful and attentive as possible. As a regular recipe blog reader, I find demonstrative photos to be extremely helpful when tackling a less-known cooking task (dough kneading technique, visual consistency of pie filling on a spoon when it is done, etc etc etc).

    Because your blog is so descriptive of the step-by-step process, a picture or two to show the color of the caramel in the pan when it is ready to be taken off the heat and also what the bubbles and overall texture would look like at that stage would be SO helpful to a caramel virgin. If you don’t like to take pictures of the process, a descriptive paragraph would also be really helpful :) (you mentioned “I could tell by the aroma that I’d taken it too far”–I would love to know what that aroma is like just in case I made the same mistake)

    Anyways, the dessert itself turned out to be absolutely incredible despite my own possible errors and doubts. I love that you combined three different recipes into one kick-ass cupcake!

  21. Joanne Says:

    You are so right: Who DOESN’T love caramel?!!! It will get me every time.
    Those photos are mouthwatering good. I’m hoping that time allows me to test the recipe.

  22. Jeanne Says:

    I’ve never tried salted caramel cupcakes, but after your rave review I’ll definitely be making some! And your frosting looks incredibly rich and chocolatey!

  23. briarrose Says:

    Lovely. I do love caramel in all it’s wonderful forms. ;)

  24. 5 Star Foodie Says:

    These cupcakes look so cute and the salted caramel filling sounds terrific!

  25. Tamar Says:

    The contrast of the salt and chocolate on those cupcakes looks stunning.

  26. Maya Says:

    These cupcakes look thoroughly delicious, and your pictures reflect that… and more! Salted caramel is a flavor made in foodie heaven, I’m quite sure of it. :-)

  27. msihua Says:

    Oh wow… they would make excellent gifts and they looks so pretty!

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Grace Says:

    Thank you, what a great idea!

  29. Grace Says:

    I completely agree Maya

  30. penny aka jeroxie Says:

    oh YUM!! thanks for joining the party. Such a lovely contribution. :)

  31. Grace Says:

    Thank you Penny!

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  34. Evan Thomas Says:

    These sound absolutely perfect. The only thing I possibly like more than chocolate is the combination of salty and sweet, and these have both! Too good.

  35. Grace Says:

    Me too Evan!!!

  36. fooddreamer Says:

    Wow, three attempts at the caramel, you are dedicated! But these cakes definitely look like they are worth it.

  37. Grace Says:

    I was determined and believe me it was definitely worth it, these are fabulous!

  38. Tiffany Says:

    I love the beach too, and there’s something super awesome about the beach in the winter, no? Oh, and of course… these cakes look great!

  39. Grace Says:

    Definitely I like the beach any time of the year!

  40. Jeff Says:

    I am making the salted carmel cupcakes but an confused on the frosting, the frosting recipe associated with the cupcakes is a dark chocolate frosting, but the picture shows a frosting that can be piped. The dark frosting can NOT be piped? WHat recipe goes with the slated carmel cupcake?
    Thank you for your help, the cupcakes are very good.

  41. Grace Says:

    Hi Jeff The Dark Chocolate Frosting is the correct frosting, here’s the link – http://gracessweetlife.com/2010/05/candied-hazelnut-cupcakes/ – In the hazelnut cupcakes I used the frosted differently, it’s versatile. I’m glad you like the cupcakes, one of our favourites, I make them often. Sorry it took me so long to reply my internet connection has been wonky today.

  42. Wayne Says:

    They look amazing. I’ll give these a shot! Thanks.

  43. Grace Says:

    Just a bit of a warning Wayne, these are addicting.

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