Triple caramel salted cupcakes

First and foremost, I have to apologize for my long absence. It's been a week since I've posted, but that's only because this week has been positively terrible, stressful and never-ending. But cupcakes fix things, right?

I'm not going to lie to you. These are some of the best cupcakes I've ever had in my life, but they're not for the faint of heart. I worked on these over the course of two evenings. This recipe is the combination of two recipes: Sprinkle bakes triple salted caramel cupcakes and Pioneer woman's caramel sauce. If you're really adventurous (and talented, which I am not), you can stick solely with the Sprinkles caramel recipe. It's pretty complicated, and I managed to ruin my favorite little kitchen tool.

Apparently melted sugar requires metal kitchen tools. Boo on you, plastic.

So let's get started!

Cupcake ingredients (as copied from Sprinkle Bakes website):
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla   
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
Cupcake directions (as copied from Sprinkle Bakes website): 
  •  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
  • Cream butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. 
  • Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  • When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
  • Once cooled, cut out a small chunk in the middle of the cupcake. We're going to fill that with caramel sauce.
If you are ever required to make caramel, this is the recipe to use. I've tried so many, but I could drink this stuff. It's Pioneer Woman's easy caramel sauce, and it is absolutely divine. And easy. Which makes it even more divine.

Ingredients (as copied from Pioneer Woman's website):
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Directions (as copied from Pioneer Woman's website):
  • Mix butter, brown sugar, half & half, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  • Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker.
  • Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
  • Turn off heat and pour sauce into a jar.
  • Refrigerate until cold 
  • Once the caramel sauce is cool, pour about a teaspoon of it into each of the cupcake holes you made, then "quark" the cupcake again with the chunk of cake you cut out.
Now onto the frosting. This is the most sinful part of this whole dessert, but let me tell you something — you have never tasted anything like this in your life. It's amazing.

Ingredients (as copied from Sprinkle bakes website):
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions (as copied from Sprinkle bakes website):
  • In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or just use your hand mixer), 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. 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.
  • Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting.
  • Top cupcake with a few "grains" of sea salt
So as you can see, this isn't the easiest cupcake recipe, but if you're up for a challenge, these are a-MAZING.

Love and caramel...and sea salt,
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