This recipe is a product of what I like to call "Frankenstein baking". I had an idea for a cupcake and I knew how to make the frosting that I wanted but, not the cake or the filling. So I searched the internet for the perfect chocolate cake and the perfect salted caramel filling to go with the ganache recipe I had. I made them for my sisters birthday and drove them 8 hours in a car with no A/C but, let me tell you they were worth it! They were a huge hit and really easy to make too.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees & prepare cupcake pans by putting un cupcake liners
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. (Note: DO NOT PANIC! This is a VERY loose batter)
While your cupcakes are in the oven you will want to begin making your Ganache
Place bittersweet chocolate in medium size stainless steel bowl and set aside.
Use a saucepan set over medium heat and bring heavy cream to a simmer
Pour hot cream over the bittersweet chocolate and stir heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate together gently until it becomes blended and smooth.
Let cool to room temperature then place in refrigerator for at least 30 Minutes to an hour. You can even leave it in overnight and frost the cupcakes the next day!
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes, rotate halfway through if your oven tends to cook unevenly, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
After your cupcakes have cooled and you are ready to fill them begin to make your Salted Caramel filling. (NOTE: I suggest a pan with sloping sides. When I made mine some of the sugar got stuck in the corners.)
Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color.
Add the butter and stir it in until melted.
Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside. (Note: I found that my cake was sticking to my knife a bit so before cutting a circle I dusted the knife with cocoa powder. Worked like a charm)
Frost as desired! I piped the frosting on with a 2D tip then gave a very light sprinkle of sea salt and crushed espresso beens.