1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup hot coffee
2 cups sugar
1-2/3 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - Recommended: Hershey's DO NOT USE DUTCH PROCESS!
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Salted Caramel Filling
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup butter, cubed
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting :
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks salted butter
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt (start with 1/2 ts and taste then adjust if you want a more intense sea salt flavor)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Line 2-3 cupcake pans with cupcake liners (I use an ice cream scoop and it makes 2.5 dozen cupcakes)
3. Combine chocolate chips and hot coffee in a bowl. Let mixture stand, whisking occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
4. Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
5. Beat, in the bowl of an electric mixer, eggs until thick and yellow, about 3-5 minutes. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
6. Divide batter between cupcake lined pans and bake in oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
7. Cool in cupcake pans on racks for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and let cool on rack until completely cool.
Caramel Filling Instructions
Line an 8-in. square pan with foil and butter the foil; set aside. Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil slowly for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until candy thermometer reads 230° stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool. You want a thick sauce that is like a chewy soft carmel - because the cake is a soft cake, if it is a caramel syrup, it will soak into the cupcake and you won't get that caramely goodness! Once the caramel is luke warm- room temp, core the cupcakes with either a paring knife or a cupcake corer. Spoon 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of warm caramel filling into each cupcake. Sprinkle the caramel with a tiny amount of sea salt. Next Frost!!
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting!!
In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. When time permits, I make the caramel the night before and leave it out covered in a jar on the counter. In the morning, it is room temp and still pourable.
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. (The caramel sauce makes quite a bit of sauce, so start with half of the sauce and taste. If the frosting is not "caramely" enough, add more caramel sauce until you get the desired taste. I ususally use all but 1/4 of the caramel sauce.) Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or make the day before per my suggestion above. Fill a pastry bag with caramel frosting and pipe onto chocolate cupcakes. If you have any remaining caramel sauce from the frosting, you can drizzle it on the cupcakes!!