The Cupcake Swap: Week 1
It all started with the idea of a potluck for our friends Jen & Brendan who are brand new parents. You don’t have to have kids to know that the first few weeks can be daunting and exhausting! The only problem with a potluck is that it’s WAY too much food for one couple to consume before it all goes bad. So we took the idea of a potluck and stretched it over a couple of months with a slight twist…cupcakes!
Here’s the idea: each friend signs up for a week to bake a savory dish/meal for the new parents. In EXCHANGE for the food they get a dozen cupcakes baked by Cupcake Daydreams! Parents get a much needed home cooked meal, the cook gets tasty cupcakes and we get to test out new recipes! It’s a win, cubed!
For the first week I decided on a chocolate cupcake because I’m always looking for ways to change up chocolate recipes. A vanilla based cake is definitely easier to modify since a chocolate base can be overpowering to some of the more subtle flavors.
Growing up my favorite candy bar was the heath toffee bar—what’s not to like hard caramel covered in a luscious chocolate coating! Seems like a natural pairing with the chocolate cake. I opted to mix toffee bits into the batter so that the chocolate bits would melt in the cupcake. I kept the frosting simple since the cake was so rich but topped it off with a fresh caramel drizzle. Why are you still reading? Go bake this cupcake!!
Chocolate Toffee Cupcake
2 2/3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk, room temperature
1 package crumbled toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two cupcake pans with liners.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time.
- Add vanilla.
- Alternate between milk and the flour mixture—beginning and ending with flour.
- By hand, fold in the package of toffee bits.
- Fill cups ¾ full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean.
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3-4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream butter.
- Add confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time until you reach desired consistency. Mix in vanilla at any time.
½ cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
- Prepare an ice bath (you’ll need two nesting bowls – place ice in the larger bowl and place smaller bowl inside the large bowl surround it with ice).
- Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Sugar will start to melt, shake the pan to move the unmelted sugar around the pan.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar becomes a smooth golden amber color (about 2 or 3 minutes). Stir constantly so that the sugar doesn’t burn.
- Remove from heat.
- Continue stirring and slowly add the cream in a slow stream (it may splatter and this is normal).
- If it’s not the desired consistency (smooth) return to heat while stirring.
- Place caramel in the smaller bowl in the ice bath—stir frequently until cooled.
While you are waiting for the caramel to cool, frost the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes are frosted whisk the caramel with a metal whisk. Use the caramel on the whisk to slowly drizzle over the frosted cupcakes. I have found it best to place the cupcakes on a cooling rack when you drizzle the caramel over it. It can get a bit messy and this prevents the bottom of the cupcakes from getting sticky with caramel.