Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Caramel nut cupcakes

Happy Tuesday- I hope you are having one.

I plan to have a good one, and given my day- it is possible, but it is also possible for it to go tragically wrong.  But isn't that any day, really?

I have done my praying, and I have also done hours of practical research and planning.  In my freezer are 3 cakes, all dressed up and ready for shipping halfway across the country.  And I am mortified.

What?  Wouldn't you be?

I stress enough about taking a sharp left-hand turn when I have a cold cake sitting securely in the floor of my car for 20 minutes.  The UPS delivery person I am certain will not take such care.  I am certain that no matter how I dress up these cake boxes, they will be tossed around like they are full of tube socks or bow-tie pasta.

Perhaps I should write more than "this way up."  Perhaps I should write something like...

"Cursed be the man who doesn't handle this care."

Or, "Do you have any idea how much these people are paying for these cakes?"

Or "Deliver me first, I am cake, after all!"

The reality is that come 10AM, it will be out of my hands, and I am quite certain I will think of nothing else until I know my precious little cakes are safe in someone's belly.

In the meantime, lets look at some other cakes- cupcakes, really.

These are Caramel Nut Cupcakes, and they are entirely too amazing.

I made these first in the end of July for a women's event at my church.  I only made about 20 of them, as I knew that there would be a ton of delicious food there made by others.  As I sat with my plate full of broccoli salad and 4 different chip-and-dip combinations, I watched as the girls at my table threw down forks, and some of them running to grab one of these little guys before they were reduced to crumbs.

Oh, my ego.

Just kidding.

I have a girlfriend who loved caramel sundaes from McDonalds almost as much as I did, and we were both mortified when the company discontinued this sweet and salty treat.  Ever since this event, I have had a desire to make my own caramel- but I am a bit terrified of hot sugar.

I am way too clumsy.

I searched for recipes, and after much deliberation, I found this one.  I started with my sugar in a dry pot as directed, and I sat and stared.  Nothing.  Nothing.  And nothing.  I watched the edges very closely, gently swishing the top of the sugar back ad forth with my spatula.  After what seemed like an eternity, my husband asked me if he could jump in the shower.  "Sure.  I think I am going to still be here staring at this pot when you get out.

The door closed to the bathroom, and I looked down at my pot and noticed what appeared to be a bubble in the middle of the white granulated sugar.  I pressed my spatula into the middle of it, and out oozed a deep amber goo.  What the?  Crap.  I tried to gently fold the white sugar into the melted sugar, but it really never came together, and the caramel was getting darker and darker.

The heck with it.  I added the heavy cream, and once incorporated I poured the chunky mess through a sieve.  True, half of the caramel went into the garbage, but the other half was a perfect amount for these cupcakes.

And they were delicious, and so reminiscent of my glorious McDonalds sundae.

Caramel Nut Cupcakes
One batch caramel.  I omitted the vanilla bean, but added a teaspoon of vanilla.

1 cup toasted nuts of choice.

1 batch vanilla cupcakes (the link is for vanilla cake.  Pour batter into lined cupcake tins until 2/3 full, and bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes)

1 batch Caramel Frosting

Fluffy Caramel Frosting
3 sticks of butter, softened but still cool
1/4 C Caramel
3 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 t vanilla
1/4 t kosher salt

Cream the 3 sticks of butter together for about 3 minutes.  Add the caramel and beat for an additional minute.  Add the sugar and salt, and cream for 5 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla until incorporated.  Use immediately.

Assembly:  With a small offset spatula, spread frosting onto the cupcakes.  You are looking for @1" of frosting on top, but nearly flat on the tops and sides.  Place a teaspoon of caramel in the center of each cupcake (yes, right on top of the frosting).  With a skewer, swirl it through and around the frosting, until you are satisfied with your swirl pattern.  Repeat until finished.

Place the cupcakes in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Put the chopped toasted nuts in a shallow dish.  Either roll the sides of the cupcakes in the nuts, or place some nuts in the palm of your hands, and gently swipe them across the sides of the cupcakes.  I prefer the second method, especially if your frosting is a bit loose.

Eat, and forget about everything that could go wrong with your day (Prov. 3:5-6)

Rachel Bee


  1. hey...speaking of mc d's caramel sundaes...i saw them on the menu recently at a local mc d's. i'm wondering if they've just neglected to change the sign...or maybe they're back by popular demand!!

  2. i know! caramel apple sundaes! i was going to text you yesterday!

  3. Rachel would you consider trying out a diabetic version or these?

  4. interesting. i have not done any diabetic baking before, i must admit. it is not an idea i am opposed to...