Difficulty: Sorta Hard (due to it's length)
I'm a frosting person. Yep...that's why I go to weddings--for the frosting. It can't be too sweet and it should perfectly balance with the cake. And most of the time I go for light and airy cakes and frostings. I don't know why--maybe it's a throwback to a childhood miserably spent without Twinkies? Another thing we were miserably without in our kitchen when I grew up were rubber spatulas. You need rubber spatulas to fold in egg whites and to scrape the sides of fluffy frosting and cake bowls, yes? So, now I have 4 rubber spatulas. And I make a lot of cakes that are light--like Twinkies but with better ingredients. Here's one with an incredible carmel latte filling that I just love!
This incredible filling is balanced by plain butter cupcakes. But in order to make the whole thing light and airy...I used whipped cream frosting to balance it all out. It worked!! Decoration? --an easy little squiggle of caramel on the top. Almost as good as kissing my husband! ( Hey! Maybe I should squiggle caramel on top of Alan? heh)
16 T unsalted butter...softened
3 C cake flour...sifted
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C milk
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 24 cupcake liners in cupcake pans. Set aside. Whisk together in a bowl:
flour...baking powder...salt in a bowl--set aside. Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl fitted with a paddle or with a hand mixer...cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs...one at a time...beating well after each addition. On low speed... add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth...about 5 seconds. Divide batter among cupcake pans. Bake about 15 minutes until center springs back when touched with a finger. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in pans then invert onto wire racks to cool thoroughly before filling and frosting.
Caramel-Latte Filling or Frosting:
1 1/2 C unsalted butter... soft but still cool and cut in cubes
1/4 t salt
4 oz. cream cheese.... soft but cool and cut in cubes
3 C powdered sugar
3/4 C caramel sauce (use leftover sauce for caramel squiggle decoration)
1 T warm water mixed with 1/2 t instant espresso (such as Medaglio D'Oro or Starbucks VIA)
Optional Topping: crunched-up toffee (Heath Bar has this out in bags in the chocolate chip section of your grocery)
Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand-mixer and beat butter and salt until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the caramel sauce and then the warm water mixed in a tablespoon with powdered espresso.
Whipped Cream Frosting: Whip 1 pint whipping cream in a chilled (preferably metal or ceramic) bowl with chilled beaters until frothy. Gradually add 1/2 C powdered sugar...then vanilla. Beat until stiff enough to pipe on top of cupcakes ( at the moment stiff peaks form).
Assembly: Bake the cupcakes. While cakes are baking make the Caramel Espresso Filling... whip the Whipped Cream Frosting and put in the refrigerator until cupcakes are cool. Core cupcakes with a paring knife...carving a cone-shape into the cupcake with the large end at the top --about 1-inch wide. This is so there is enough room for filling to truly achieve the full cupcake experience. Fill cupcakes with filling--I use a dinner knife. Then...using a pastry bag--pipe whipped cream onto cake. Drizzle leftover caramel sauce over the cupcakes by swinging a fork dipped in sauce over the tops of the cakes lined up on a baking tray or clear counter space covered with parchment or paper. Alternative: use Heath Bar toffee crunch to sprinkle on top.