My husband’s side of the family has an interesting tradition for celebrating birthdays. Instead of celebrating everyone’s birthday on their actual birthday they like to group birthdays together from a 3-4 month period and celebrate about 10 people’s birthdays all together. Now this arrangement does have its pluses, but it also has its negatives -try being 24 years old and having enough money for 8 birthdays!!
Well, one benefit of being a pastry chef is using my culinary skills to make homemade gifts that make people forget that I didn’t spend the big bucks on them. I decided to try out a new recipe for the big party extravaganza! I took a look through my folder full of cupcake recipes that I’ve been wanting to try out and I kept flipping back to Chockylit’s recipe for Salted Caramel Frosting, so I decided to try it out.
I used one of my favorite recipes for chocolate cake/cupcakes from Ina Garten. I also had some extra chocolate rum ganache left over from another dessert that I tried out, so I decided to use it as a filling for the cupcakes. To make this ganache just heat an equal amount of heavy cream until it begins to boil and pour it oven an equal amount of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes and then stir in 1 tablespoon or so of rum (depending on the amount of chocolate and cream you used…it’s all up to you). Let the chocolate ganache completely cool until it is scoopable, and then fill a pastry bag with the ganache and pipe it into the cooled cupcakes.
Here are a couple photos of me making the salted caramel for the salted caramel frosting. You can see the stages the caramel has to go through before you add it to the cream cheese frosting base. First shot is of the amber caramel right after I took it off the stove.
This next shot is after I added the lemon juice, butter, and heavy cream.
This last photo is of the caramel right before I added it to the cream cheese frosting base.
After I added the caramel to the cream cheese frosting base, I made a couple small changes to it. I added about 1/2 teaspoon more salt to the recipe and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The little amount of caramel I had left, that I didn’t add to the frosting, I spooned over the top of the cupcakes after I frosted them. I also had some leftover candied pecans from the last dessert I made, so I topped off the cupcakes with them. As a finishing touch, I sprinkled a little coarse sea salt on top. These cupcakes turned out fantastic and were a huge hit with the family! I definitely recommend trying them out. Thanks so much Chockylit for the great recipe!
I always think presentation is key when giving someone a gift, so I thought that I would package these cupcakes in clear boxes from Garnish. I wish I would’ve had some all-brown M&Ms at home, but I didn’t, so I just used the normal M&Ms to add a little barrier around the base of the cupcake and add some edible decoration. I tied a cute little green ribbon top to tie in all the colors and the gifts were finished.
P.S. I get all my cute cupcake liners from Confectionery House!