Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Yield: 18-24 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (regular is fine too)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½-2 cups salted caramel sauce*
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter- softened
  • 4-6 cups of powdered sugar
  • cream or milk as needed
  • 5 oz. of dark chocolate- chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. 'Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each ⅔ full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the ganache:
  1. Place chopped dark chocolate in a small bowl. On medium-high heat, warm the heavy cream until it boils and right away pour it over the chocolate.
  2. Leave it for 5 minutes and then stir mixture until it is thick and creamy. Allow to cool to room temperature by either letting it sit for 30-45 minute OR speed it up in the freezer (what I did.)
  3. When the cupcakes are cooled, use a paring knife to carve a cone shape into the top of each cupcake. Slice off the very top of the removed part and set aside.
  4. Fill with a tablespoon of caramel sauce and place the top back on. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes and set aside to make frosting.
For the Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the butter until it is creamy and pale. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, a little at a time until frosting is thick and paste like.
  2. Add ½ cup of salted caramel sauce and mix on medium-high speed until frosting is thick and well combined. Add the milk or cream a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is creamy and good piping/spreading consistency.
  3. Spoon or drizzle the ganache onto the frosted cupcakes and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Notes
* You can also use regular store-bought caramel with sea salt mixed in
Recipe by The Baker Chick at https://www.thebakerchick.com/2012/05/dark-chocolate-salted-caramel-cupcakes/