Thursday, May 17, 2012


Mother's Day is not my favorite day, for reasons that are complicated and make me sound incredibly petty and whiny, so I won't detail them here.  Let's just say that I need to lower my expectations so that I don't get disappointed each year and make time for yoga over the weekend to help de-stress and stay calm.  BUT, I did have some time to myself to tackle a cupcake recipe I had pinned off of Pinterest.  Always looking for the silver lining, that's me.

So, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it.  Chocolate cake, with caramel frosting and toffee?  Sign me up!  Besides that, the thing just looks so pretty!

None of the steps were really that complicated, but between the cake batter, the caramel icing and ganache dipping sauce, it was a little labor intensive. I think the finished product was well worth it though.  The cupcakes can be made the day ahead, as well as the buttercream (you can even freeze the buttercream, according to my Martha Stewart cupcake book, but I always worry about changes in consistency when you do that).  Then just put the cakes together the day of.  Here's my version:

Seriously, I tried cropping out the wadded up napkin in the back of the second picture, and it shows up fine in iPhoto, so, sorry about that.  I'm sure you only have eyes for the drool-worthy cupcake in the foreground and didn't even notice what was in the background until I pointed it out.  Ugh.

Below is a link to the original recipe, but I found some of the directions confusing, and definitely had trouble with the buttercream, so I'm rewriting parts of the recipe here, and, hopefully, making it a little easier to follow.

Personally, I thought the coffee flavor was a little strong, becoming a more dominant flavor, rather than a background note, so if I made this again, I would probably just leave out the extra coffee granules.  Also, the instructions weren't exactly clear on whether to put toffee bits in the cake itself or only use for the decoration. Because the batter is so thin, I opted for just using the toffee bits for decoration on the outside.

Also, as I mentioned before, I had a little trouble with the frosting. I don't think I beat the egg white/sugar mixture long enough before I started adding the butter, so it never got to the spreadable stage.  I got there by adding powdered sugar (a lot! like, 3 cups), so the caramel flavor got diluted by that point. It did get to a spreadable consistency, but was quite soft and really needed refrigeration to maintain its shape once I piped the frosting.  For the dipping sauce, I thought it was a little overly complicated and wondered if a simple, thinner ganache (chocolate melted in warm cream, then stirred together until smooth) mixture would have worked just as well.

Rather than actual chopped up Heath bar (or other kind of chocolate-covered toffee bars), I used the Heath bar chips, so they weren't covered in chocolate, but took the occasion to gild the lily and drizzle caramel sauce over the top.  Looks pretty tasty, if I do say so myself, and even with some of my mis-steps, the flavors were still really good, too.

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes by Bakers Royale (original recipe that I followed)

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

(revised based on my experience making the original recipe)
Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Chocolate Cupcake portion adapted from Alice Medrich for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (optional)
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee
Caramel Frosting:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce (I used Smucker's brand, but I would recommend a higher-quality or home-made version to get a deeper caramel flavor)
Chocolate Dipping Sauce:
  • 2/3 cups dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 5-8 tablespoons water, warm
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered toffee bits (for decoration)
1. Measure flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine (I use a whisk to break up any small clumps). Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Dissolve coffee granules into the hot coffee, then add to the batter. Beat at medium speed for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. The batter will be quite thin - you should be able to pour it.  Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature.
TIP: For light, tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measure cups level with the back of a knife or other straight edge without tapping or shaking them.
Caramel Frosting:
1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly (it took about 10 minutes for me, but if you have a candy thermometer, I suggest you hook that to the side of your bowl so you know for sure). The point of heating the egg whites and the sugar together is to get the sugar completely dissolved, so it should feel smooth and not at all gritty when you rub some of the mixture between your fingers.
2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat mixture, starting on low, then gradually increasing speed up to medium-high until mixture cools and doubles in volume.  It should be completely cool and will form stiff peaks if you pull the beater out.
3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add caramel sauce and mix to combine.
Chocolate Dipping Sauce:
1. Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
(Alternatively, you could use a ganache glaze: bring 2/3 cup heavy cream mixed with 1 tablespoon light corn syrup to a simmer, then pour over 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate, let sit for a minute or two until chocolate starts to melt, then stir until smooth)
To assemble cupcake:
1. To frost the cupcakes: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and start piping from the outside working in to the center to create one even layer. 
2. Freeze cupcakes for 20 minutes (this will keep the frosting from melting when you dip it in the chocolate). Remove cupcakes from freezer and dip in warm chocolate sauce, holding over the sauce to let some of the excess drip off (if you want a thicker chocolate glaze, dip in twice) and then rim with chocolate covered toffee bits. 
3. Return cupcakes to freezer for five minutes for chocolate to set. Remove from freezer and finish piping frosting on top.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Mother's Day..nonetheless..I'm really loving your blog, Marna! There's quite a few of the recipes I WILL be trying!! This is definitely one of them!