Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

It’s fall, so pumpkin desserts seem only essential.  These pumpkin cupcakes were delicious; they had a soft, airy texture and weren’t overly pumpkin flavored.  But, let’s be real: the true champion here is the salted caramel buttercream.  It was out of this world.  I used homemade salted caramel, but you could use store-bought caramel sauce as well.

Pumpkin Cupcakes (from Food and Wine)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  1. Grease a muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree.
  5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches (starting and ending with dry ingredients), beating well between additions.
  6. Pipe/Scoop/Spoon batter into cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 package)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup salted caramel
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and salted caramel and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing between additions, until you reach desired consistency.

Salted Caramel Latte

I am not functional without caffeine.  I can (and have) had coffee-less days, but they are a rarity.  It’s true that I find my eyelids feeling heavier and heavier mid day and need a little energy boost, but that aside, I really do love the taste of coffee and espresso.  This salted caramel latte is delicious, and it won’t require you to stop out of your way and pay $5!

  • 1 Tbsp salted caramel
  • 3/4 cup cold milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup caramel macchiato coffee creamer
  • 2 shots of espresso
  1. Mix milk and coffee creamer in a cup and place in freezer for a few minutes so that it is very cold.  This makes the steaming process much easier!
  2. Brew espresso (2 shots) and pour in a glass.
  3. Add salted caramel sauce and stir.
  4. Steam the milk mixture and pour over espresso.  Use a spoon to get the last bits of foam if you have to, it’s worth it!

 

Salted Caramel

I made my first attempt at making salted caramel not long ago.  I have to admit that I was pretty nervous – I truly thought I would end up with a pan of crystallized sugar.  I was wrong!  I was successful and it was delicious!  The perfect amount of saltiness.

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1  tsp sea salt
  1. Heat sugar and water in a larger saucepan (2-quart) at medium-high heat.  The sugar will dissolve naturally, but you can use a whisk to help the process along.  Once  the mixture is boiling, you can swirl the pan if you think you need to mix it up a bit, but really, it isn’t necessary.
  2. When the bubbling mixture turns a darker amber color, add the butter.  The mixture will foam up and thicken. Use a whisk to mix until the butter has all melted.  Once the butter is completely melted, remove the pan from heat.
  3. Add the cream and continue to whisk to incorporate (it will bubble up again)
  4. Add the sea salt and continue to mix until the sauce is smooth.  The caramel sauce will thicken up as it cools.
  5. Let cool  for a few minutes, then pour into a re-sealable container (jar or Tupperware will work).  Keep at room temperature until completely cool, then refrigerate.