chocolate salted-caramel mini cupcakes

Cupcake Wars.

The Kids love watching the show, and now, The Daughter gets to participate in one. Today, her middle school is hosting a fundraiser and competition — game on!

She needed to find a cupcake both eye-appealing and scrumptious, and she spent a good hour perusing Hello Cupcake! and Martha Stewart's Cupcakes looking for The Perfect Cupcake.  The chocolate salted-caramel ones seemed most delicious, and we're hoping they'll win over the judges' hearts and taste buds.

The cake is light and fluffy and the salted caramel complements it with its decadent, rich flavor and smooth texture. The fleur de sel is the little extra sophisticated twist to the dessert.

Update: The Daughter came in third place, winning $10, a ceramic cupcake, and a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons. I'd like to blame it on those darn, beautiful, enticing photos at Martha Stewart. The cupcake was a bit salty, thanks to the extra little sprinkle of the fleur de sel (like in the second picture above.) We made the mortal mistake of not having a dry run with the recipe. There's always next year! (The Girl has already stated The Chosen: S'mores Cupcakes.)

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1½ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup warm water
Fleur de sel, for garnish
Dark Chocolate Frosting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and the water. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about ½ inch deep) from the center of each cupcake (discard pieces, or drizzle them with some salted caramel and ENJOY!) Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm filling into each hollowed-out cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium open star tip with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted; store at room temperature in airtight containers (do not refrigerate) until ready to serve.


  1. Good luck Daughter! Maybe you and your mom would like to help me with our Wedding dessert bar...

  2. hope she wins! do let us all know the results!

  3. Of course she'll win! There could not possibly be a better middle school baker than The Daughter. Like Mother, Like Daughter I always say! :-)

  4. wait where's the butter?!

  5. Big Uncle, Yeah, I know, no butter! I was wondering if I should sub that for the vegetable oil. There is creamy flavor found in the caramel. Too bad you couldn't sample one yesterday- we made another batch for the party.

  6. These look delicious. If you get a chance I would love you to link your cupcakes up to More the Merrier Monday. http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/


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