Saturday, September 24, 2011

Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes with Popcorn

As we were having a Movie Night last night, I decided I wanted to make some cupcakes that had popcorn on top - almost like a cake that could kill two birds / snacks with one stone as you ate it.

So Bailey and I came up with the idea of a cupcakes with caramel icing that was topped with freshly popped popcorn to replicate the taste of toffee popcorn.

I whipped up a batch of my favourite Primrose Bakery vanilla cupcakes, that turned out delicious and soft - I was really happy with them.

Incidentally once I had made the sponges and was leaving them out to cool, I stupidly opened the door to a dodgy 3G salesman who, on spotting the cakes, told me he was a pastry chef by trade and thought he could secure a deal by giving me some of his "secret recipes". He was a real weirdo and after I had managed to get rid of him by getting Bailey to come downstairs and be rude to him, he had the cheek to say "Can I nick a cupcake on my way out?" Outrageous!

Anyway, after saving the cupcakes from the belly of the 3G man, I made up a milk chocolate and caramel icing which was really yummy. I iced the cakes with this before drizzling in toffee sauce before popping some butter popcorn and using the toffee sauce to stick pieces of popcorn to the cakes.

Although this seemed like a nice idea at the time I think it may have been a bit too wacky for it's own good. The popcorn was a very strange texture on top of the soft sponge and not long after having been put on top of the cakes, the popcorn went quite dry reminding you of those funky bits of popcorn you get at the bottom of your bag towards the end of the film.

I think the only way for this recipe to work would be if you used that glazed toffee popcorn you get from the video rentals shop, but even then I would much rather eat a Caramel Chocolate Cupcake topped with chunks of toffee or lovely bits of crushed up Dime Bars.

A lesson was learned here that popcorn and cupcakes should be kept separate, but at least I worked out a recipe for a yummy, soft caramel chocolate icing!

Recipe (makes 12 large cupcakes):

For the cupcakes:
110g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
150g self-raising flour
125g plain flour
120ml semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing and topping:
150g caramel milk chocolate
110g unsalted butter
1 desert spoon semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g icing sugar
Toffee desert sauce
Popcorn kernels... or even better, some chunks of fudge or Dime Bar or some other topping of your choice that isn't popcorn!

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and get a 12-hole muffin tray ready with 12 muffin cases. Cream together the butter and sugar with a spoon or electric mixter until creamy and free of lumps.

Add the eggs one at a time and stir well. In a separate bowl, sift the two types of flour. Mix the milk and vanilla extract together in a jug. 

Add a third of the flour to the bowl with the eggs, sugar and butter and stir well.

Add a third of the milk and stir well. Repeat the process until all the milk and flour has been mixed in.

Using two teaspoons, place an even amount of cake batter into the muffin cases before putting them into the oven.

Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until the cakes look golden brown.

Leave the cakes in the tin to cool for around 10 minutes.

Remove from the tin and allow to cool before icing. While the cakes are in the oven and cooling, you will have time to make the icing and talk to annoying 3G salesmen.

For the icing, mix together the butter, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a bowl, working out any lumps.

Melt the caramel chocolate in the microwave. Be more vigilant with this than you would be with normal chocolate as I imagine caramel could be a nightmare when burnt. Don't worry too much if the melted caramel chocolate has kind of a grainy texture - mine did and it turned out lovely and smooth once mixed with the rest of the icing ingredients.

Once all mixed together, leave to one side until the cupcakes are ready to be iced. Ice using a good palette knife.

Leave the icing to settle for a little while, ideally overnight. When ready to serve, drizzle with toffee desert sauce, before sticking a topping of your choice to the toffee sauce - I don't recommend using popcorn like I did unless you get the super sugary glazed toffee kind.

And voila, your cupcakes are ready to serve!

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