Last weekend our family and lots of family friends had a big golf outing and then headed back to my parents house for a party afterwards. My dad’s birthday was this past week so I wanted to make him something special to have that night. His favorite dessert is Snickers bars so I decided to make a cupcake that incorporated all the key ingredients from that: chocolate, caramel and peanuts. I made chocolate cupcakes and filled them with caramel, swirled the tops with peanut butter buttercream and topped them with chocolate curls, a drizzle of caramel and chopped peanuts. The star of the show for me was the homemade caramel, which takes a lot of practice to perfect but is so delicious that it’s worth it. The first two pictures were taken the night of the party on my iPhone and don’t do the cupcakes justice, the third one is a clearer view of them!
Start by baking the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard muffin pan with 12 paper or foil liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2/3 all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Place 3 oz. chopped semi sweet Baker’s chocolate and 11 tbsp unsalted butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it over but not touching simmering water in a small saucepan. Stir frequently until completely melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Stir 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar into the chocolate mixture using a spatula until combined. Stir in 3 large eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition until combined. Add in 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain. It’s very important you follow these steps exactly and DO NOT over mix or these cupcakes will turn out very dry and crumbly.
Divide batter evenly among the liners, filling about 3/4 the way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 22-24 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes then take cupcakes out and let cool completely for an hour. Next, make the caramel (** note that the first time you make this it probably won’t be perfect but after a little practice this is so easy and tastes amazing so don’t let it discourage you!). In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar, 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp light corn syrup to a boil. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down the sides of the pans to prevents crystals from forming. Reduce the heat to low and cook, swirling the pan instead of stirring until the caramel is a rich amber color. Remove it from the heat and CAREFULLY (it will splatter up) add in 4 tbsp unsalted butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp crème fraîche, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth, transfer to a bowl to cool completely and then transfer to a squeeze bottle.
Use a paring knife or a cupcake corer to scoop out the center of your cupcakes and fill with the caramel. Next, make the peanut butter buttercream. Cream 1/3 cup solid shortening and 1/3 cup unsalted softened butter in an electric mixer. Add 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. Gradually add 4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time at low speed. When all the sugar is incorporated, the icing will appear very dry. Add the whole milk, one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches the right consistency and is light and fluffy. Use a 1M tip in a piping bag and swirl the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with chopped salted honey roasted peanuts.
Make chocolate curls by following the tutorial in this post here, and then sprinkle them on top of the cupcakes and finish them with a drizzle of the caramel.