Whilst looking through the new Hummingbird cake book for a recipe for chocolate cupcakes (see my last post) I also came across a recipe for caramel cupcakes and immediately wanted to try them. I had a tin of caramel (dulce de leche) in the cupboard just waiting for such a recipe and I had been desperate to use it for cupcakes. I loved the look of this recipe as it included the caramel in the cake mixture, not just the icing.
I made sure to use muffin cases this time for the batter. However, after filling 12 cases there was still enough batter left over to fill a seven inch tin (which, incidentally, is exactly what I did with it). Still, better too much than too little, I guess!
The cakes turned out pretty well, even though a couple were a little lopsided! That was easily resolved once they were cold though.
I decided not to use the Hummingbird icing recipe as I'm not a huge fan of buttercream icing. I was also keen to keep the sugar content down as far as possible since the caramel itself contains so much, and the recipe for caramel buttercream called for half a kilo of icing sugar. I considered using pure caramel as icing but came to the conclusion that it would probably be too rich.
In the end I made a very small amount of buttercream (only 30g butter and 100g icing sugar) and then mixed in a few spoonfuls of the caramel. The icing was quite runny but, as with previous attempts at making icing from my own recipes, a little time in the fridge helped. I still ended up with some drips, but I do think the cupcakes look quite cute like that! Some chopped fudge sprinkled over the caramel icing finished the cupcakes off.
For me there wasn't enough icing and the cake to icing ratio wasn't quite balanced. This was because the icing was quite runny (even after the fridge time) and so I couldn't put too much on top of each cake as it would have dripped straight off again. However, I also filled a few of the caramel cupcakes as there was some extra icing. This was the answer! I like filled cupcakes as they are easier to eat than ones with icing piled high, but you still get a good balance of sponge and topping. I think this might be the way forward!