I made these cupcakes for my Book Club meeting this past weekend, and I wanted to let everyone know that they are were Fantastic! If you scroll down in the recipe for the basic Bite-Size Sour Cream Pound Cake Cupcakes, you will find 5 variations from the basic recipe. The recipe for the basic Vanilla Buttercream frosting can be found here. I made the basic cupcake recipes and followed the variations for the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes.
They were also incredibly easy to make, thanks to my new mini muffin pans and my beloved Pampered Chef mini scoop:
(If you missed the story of what happened to my OLD mini muffin pan, you can read about it here.)
The new mini muffin pan is actually a pair of pans that make a total of 24 mini muffins at once. They are Wilton pans and the labeling says that it is safe to use metal untensils on the pan. (I will not be doing this, having learned my lesson with the last pan.) I used mini muffin liners for the cupcakes, but a few liners got out of place when I was loading them with my handy dandy scooper and they came out of the pan beautifully even though I hadn't greased the pan at all. We'll see how long that feature lasts!
The chocolate ganache layer you see under the frosting was so easy to do! You just mix chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl, heat for 30-second intervals, add more cream, and stir until smooth, then dip the cupcake tops in the chocolate. Not only does this add a wonderful chocolate flavor to the vanilla cupcake, it also seals in the cupcake's moisture so that the cupcake doesn't dry out as quickly.
The caramel buttercream frosting is quite easy to apply. I loaded up the frosting in two sealable plastic bags and snipped a quarter inch hole in the corner of the bag to apply the frosting quickly in a spiral pattern. Very fast and easy.
The most wonderful part of these cupcakes was that next I added salt on top of the frosting! You can see the salt flakes in the picture above. I used sea salt from a salt grater for larger flakes. The combination of the sweet caramel buttercream and the salt was wonderful. (The recipe called for a small piece of caramel to be added on top of the cupcake. I didn't do this part because I am such a slacker--clearly. ;)
When you make a batch of mini-cupcakes and use the handy dandy scoop, you can make over 60 cupcakes out of one batch of batter! This is a good thing because when you serve them, they will disappear quickly.
One last thing: I used boring old white cupcake liners for these cupcakes, but you can find some adorable mini liners and cases at bakeitpretty.com, which is also a fascinating and dangerous place to shop for gifts for the baker in your life.