Lorna Yee's Candy Bar Cupcakes

Category: Eat + Drink Articles

 

Candy-bar Cupcakes
(Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes with salted caramel)
 
Recipe by Lorna Yee
 
For cake
3 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, like Valrhona 70 percent, finely chopped
1 cup strong, hot brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, like Valrhona or Pernigotti*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
*You can purchase Valrhona cocoa and chocolate at Pike Place Market’s DeLaurenti, and Pernigotti cocoa at MarketSpice.
 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix together the chopped chocolate and the hot coffee until the chocolate dissolves. Set aside until the coffee mixture cools.
 
In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs for 4-5 minutes until pale in color and almost doubled in volume. Add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the coffee and chocolate mixture, and beat until combined.
 
Add the dry ingredients and beat just until the mixture comes together (i.e., no white streaks of flour are visible; however, do not overbeat, as this develops the gluten in the flour and will make your cupcakes tough).
 
Divide the batter into 24 lined cupcake molds. Bake for 22–25 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed (or a skewer poked in the center of a cupcake comes out clean). Do not overbake, as this will make the cupcakes dry.
 
Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack before filling and frosting.
 
For the peanut butter filling:
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon butterscotch powder (optional for flavor, available at MarketSpice)
 
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat until creamy and smooth.
 
For the caramel topping:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 sticks softened butter, divided
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
a few pinches of Maldon salt, for sprinkling
 
Have the cream and 1 1/2 sticks of butter on hand by the stove, so you can add it immediately to the caramel when it reaches the desired color.
 
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat until the sugar starts to turn brown. With a spatula, drag the brown portion of the sugar towards the center, so the sugar mixture browns evenly. Continue gently stirring the caramel until it is an even reddish brown, approximately 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
 
Add the cream and 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and stir until the bubbles subside.
 
Turn the heat back on and slowly cook the caramel a

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