Caramel lovers take note! Ooey gooey caramel on the top and INSIDE this cupcake.  This is no plain vanilla cupcake.  It is jazzed up with salted caramel filling AND salted buttercream frosting.  Life is good thanks to the Merry Thought!

Makes approximately 30 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.

Salted Caramel Filling:

2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons salted butter cubed
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool. {If you still have some lumps in the caramel after it has cooled – strain it through a fine mesh strainer}.

Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2-3/4 cup of salted caramel filling (from recipe above) – completely cooled

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add 6 cups sugar (a little at a time). Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel – start with 1/2 cup. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Taste test to see if you want to add more caramel. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency. Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.

Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting (I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the frosting). Drizzle cupcakes with salted caramel filling.

You will most likely have leftover caramel filling, keep refrigerated and enjoy on ice cream or other desserts (or just eat it by the spoonful straight from the bowl!).

SaltedCaramelCupcakes (1)