Great British Bake Off fans, it's caramel week! Whether you're baking along with the show at home, or having a GBBO of your own at work, we're here to help you bake it or fake it with this recipe for Salted Caramel Cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery. These light chocolate cupcakes, with a gooey caramel middle, are guaranteed a Hollywood handshake. But if baking's not your bag, you can still be the office hero and order them from Deliveroo instead.
Hummingbird Bakery's Salted Caramel Cupcakes (12-16 servings)
Salty-sweet – a combination that can't be beat! Using a pinch of good-quality sea salt gives the frosting the crunchy saltiness that makes these cupcakes just perfect.
Equipment: Sieve, one or two 12-hole deep muffin tins, paper muffin cases, food processor or an electric whisk and a couple of large mixing bowls, jug, 50ml ice cream scoop (optional), sharp knife, palette knife, wire rack
For the sponge:
- 70g unsalted butter, softened
- 170g plain flour
- 250g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 210ml whole milk
- 2 large eggs
For the frosting:
- 670g icing sugar, sifted
- 210g unsalted butter, softened
- 70ml whole milk
- 30g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
- Pinch of good-quality sea salt – big flakes work best for added crunch
For the filling and decoration:
- 100g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
- Pinch of good-quality sea salt – use big flakes for the top as well
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 3) and line the muffin tins with as many paper muffin cases as you need.
- Make the sponge first. In a food processor, or using an electric whisk, mix the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together until you get a crumb-like consistency.
- In a jug, mix together the milk and eggs by hand.
- With the mixer or whisk on a slow speed, gradually pour half of the liquid into the crumb mixture and mix thoroughly until everything's combined. Raise the speed to medium and beat until the batter is smooth and thick, with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then. Once all lumps are gone, turn the speed back down and gradually pour in the rest of the liquid. Mix until the batter is smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases, filling them two-thirds full. Using a 50ml ice cream scoop to do this makes it easier to get your cupcakes even.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when you touch it lightly. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Next, make the frosting. Using a food processor or an electric whisk on a slow speed, gradually mix the icing sugar and butter together until combined and there are no large lumps of butter. Then gradually add the milk. Add the dulce de leche and sea salt and mix thoroughly. Turn up the speed and beat everything together until it's light and fluffy.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to make a hollow in the centre of each cupcake, about 2cm in diameter and about 3cm deep. Put the cut-out piece of sponge to one side. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the dulce de leche into the hollow. Replace the cut-out piece of sponge, trim it to fit and press down gently to make sure the top is level with the rest of the cake.
- Spoon a generous amount of frosting onto each cupcake, then gently smooth it over with a palette knife, making a swirl on the top. To finish, spoon about 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche on top of each frosted cupcake, swirling it slightly into the frosting, and add a light sprinkle of sea salt.
Recipe from 'The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home' by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakery, Collins, 2013. Image courtesy of Benjamin C. M. Backhouse.