While a hearty stew always helps my family eat well at autumn and prosper, salted caramel cupcakes are the cupcakes I bake to get everyone into goodness and step right into the joy of life. Without the fudgey yumminess of the caramel buttercream icing on top, a cupcake is..well, only a cupcake. Along with a reliable flat white, I can walk away feeling absolutely fortified to face anything in my day!
Thanks to the genius of Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas of PRIMROSE BAKERY fame, I found the absolute best caramel cupcake recipe ever. I’ve proudly adapted their basic recipe to make a salted caramel one, tweaking the sugars used (I used just the light brown; in the original recipe they included dark brown sugar as well), with the addition of extra pure icing sugar for a thicker caramel buttercream icing and adding just a pinch of salt.
Here’s definitely my go-to book for most of my best-loved cupcakes, CUPCAKES by the invincible duo of Primrose Bakery, UK. Who are these people? Just the celebrated bakers who supplied cupcakes for Elton John’s 60th and for the Brits music awards. Their handmade, less industrialised cupcakes have dressed the trendy spreads at fashion week for fashion brands such as Topshop and designer Paul Smith, among others.
Even armed with these lofty accolades, they’ve managed to somehow keep them tucked underneath their aprons with their feet firmly planted. Their book showcases a humble pure love for the art of baking itself and a desire to stay true to their ‘small business beginnings’, ensuring as little packaging and mass production is involved. I love that their sweet little cupcake book is as unpretentious as their philosophy says: ‘we are determined to hold on to our idea of a home-baking, less industrial type of bakery. Our recipes are straightforward and can be made in ordinary kitchens with no special equipment or skills.’
The styling and photography by Yuki Sugiura is charming with that quaint vintage feel—with honest cupcakes that while they look pretty, look as if someone’s nanna has lovingly handmade them in her country kitchen on tabletops draped with hand-embroidered tea towels. Nothing in the gallery of photos look over-the-top like the ones in a glossy instagram reel. Just simple, rustic and believable.
The writing is full of love with the earnest, warm-sounding advice of bakers who seem to really care about what they reproduce and who offer their golden rules of baking. I’ve baked through many of the different cupcake flavours in this book and every one of them has been delightful, still with many I have yet to embark on. Their Marshmallow Icing, along with Earl Grey and Ginger Fudge cupcakes were a pleasant surprise to spruce up my cupcake adventures.
I present you my version of their caramel cupcake flavour, adapted into ‘Salted Caramel Cupcakes’. Have a great weekend, be happy and stay true to what you love and what you are!
Cheers & Love
Salted Caramel Cupcake Ingredients:
100g unsalted butter, softened
250g light brown sugar
2 large eggs (70g each)
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour (sifted)
75 ml *caramel sauce (see recipe below)
50ml double cream
Start by making the *caramel sauce (recipe below) so that there’s time to let it cool down before use.
Preheat your oven to 160℃(fan-forced) or 180℃ for a regular oven. Line your muffin baking tin with patty cases.
Cream the butter and sugar till pale and smooth, about 3-5 minutes using your stand mixer. Add the eggs gradually one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
Combine sifted flours in another mixing bowl, add about a third of the flours to the creamed butter mixture and beat till just combined. Add the caramel sauce and beat again till it’s just mixed in. Add the double cream again and beat well this time. Add the remaining flours and beat till the mixture is well combined.
Using an ice-cream scoop as a measuring tool, carefully spoon the batter into the paper patty cases, filling only to two-thirds up.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (slightly raised, golden brown). While the cupcakes are baking, you can make your caramel buttercream icing.
Once the baking time is up, test the cupcakes ‘for doneness’ with a skewer. It should come out clean when inserted in the centre of cupcake.
Remove the baking tin from the oven and leave the cupcakes in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely before icing.
Once fully cooled, frost with the caramel buttercream icing that you’ve just made.
As an optional extra treat, you could crush some Flake chocolate bars over the top or sprinkle with shaved chocolate.
250g golden caster sugar
135ml filtered water
Dissolve sugar and 5 TB of the 135ml water, stirring and cooking over medium to high heat for 10 minutes till the sugar caramelises.
Remove pan from heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir gently, being very careful not to let the hot caramel splatter as it is a very hot mixture that can burn. I do this over my sink usually, with the pan away from me as much as possible. Once slightly cooled, add the remainder of the water and continue to stir gently.
Once completely cooled, pour into a bowl and cover till ready for use. Any leftover sauce can be stored in container for up to a week.
Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing:
60g unsalted butter, softened
6 TB milk, slightly warmed
220g light brown sugar
350g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
double cream (to thin, if required)
Heat butter, milk and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium to high heat and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously for a minute or two.
Remove pan from the heat, stir in half of the icing sugar then leave the mixture to cool off slightly. Add the remainder of the icing sugar and vanilla extract. It should thicken up nicely.
The icing should be used immediately. To prep for an event, you could even make this icing in advance but thin it with double cream and beat well before use. I usually heat mine slightly in the microwave for a burst of 10 seconds. It’s glorious on the caramel cupcakes! You’ll love it.
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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes