When I first started cooking, I watched Food Network A LOT. I stuck to fairly simple recipes, which generally came from only a handful of shows. Semi-Homemade was one of them. The concept of this show was to make a dish using some premade ingredients, but jazzing it up by adding fresh ingredients as well. An example would be making a compound butter by adding a seasoning packet to butter (this would be instead of adding your own seasonings). These cupcakes remind me a lot of Aunt Sandy (you’d get it if you ever watched the show) and Semi-Homemade.
The recipe came from my sister-in-law, who is a fantastic baker and dessert maker – hey that rhymed – not to mention a bad ass wife and mother of two pretty wonderful kids! I fell in love with them from first bite, and the rest of my family raved about them. There aren’t words to describe how beautifully moist (yes, I know, some people hate that word, but guess what, it fits here!) these cupcakes are. I usually don’t like overly sweet, so the bit of saltiness in the frosting is perfect. The cupcake as a whole, a little piece of heaven.
I’ve made these for my co-workers twice now, and they continue to let me know when their birthdays are so I bring them again. Little do they know (until now 😉 ) that these are semi-homemade! Also, the pictures are so bad because I had to take them at my desk because I forgot to take some at home. Ugh.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Source: Adapted from Crazy Little Projects
For the cupcake:
1 box Devil’s food cake mix
1 5.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt (sour cream will work, too)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
For the Caramel Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup caramel sauce
- Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, vegetable oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined; batter will be very thick.
- Scoop batter into paper lined cupcake tins, about 1/2 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until they are cooked through. Set aside and let cool completely.
- Caramel Sauce: Familiarize yourself with the instructions for the caramel sauce before beginning – the process moves quickly. Pour sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. As the sugar melts into small rocks, begin to whisk. Continue to whisk as the sugar turns to liquid, until the sugar becomes a deep amber color (or 350 degrees if you have a candy thermometer). Stir in butter. Once this is completely incorporated, add heavy cream and continue to whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes or so to set up.
- Caramel Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, combine all frosting ingredients. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it appears to thin, add more sugar. This tends to be more of a feel and taste type of recipe!
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost cupcakes. Drizzle cupcakes with additional caramel sauce and sprinkle with kosher salt.