Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Caramel Filling:
- 3 sticks butter
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
For the Caramel Frosting:
- 4 ½ to 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
- To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.
- Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bow. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture chocolate is melted and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
- Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla, starting and ending with flour. Mix until just incorporated, do not over-beat.
- Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean.Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before filling with caramel.
- To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the salt and brown sugar and heat the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until the sugar is totally dissolved. Stir in the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Spread the 1 cup of pecans onto a baking sheet and place in preheated oven 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Shake the baking sheet halfway through baking so the nuts will toast evenly. Remove nuts from oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Once cupcakes have cooled, use a paring knife or apple corer to cut out a small circle in the center of each cupcake. Remove the core and trim leaving the core just big enough to be used to plug the hole once it is filled.
- To make the cupcake filling, in a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup of the cooled caramel sauce and mix to coat. Drop a spoonful of the filling mixture into each cupcake. Once the filling is in place, place the trimmed core of the cupcake back into place.
- Reserve three tablespoons of caramel sauce for drizzling over frosted cupcakes.
- To make the frosting, transfer remaining caramel sauce to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Adjust consistency with a little more milk or powdered sugar, if necessary.
- Heat chocolate chips in microwave for about 30 seconds or until drizzling consistency.
- Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of icing, beginning at the outer edge and working inward. Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with the reserved three tablespoons of caramel sauce, melted chocolate and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup toasted pecans.
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Printed from: www.sweetpeaskitchen.com