Bourbon, Cake, Caramel, Cupcakes

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a love note to two of my favorite flavors: caramel and bourbon.

The guys over at Probably This have such inventive, tasty recipes, and they’re absolutely perfect the way they are. If you’re after a goat cheese buttercream or cookies with heaps of chocolate and rosemary, then they should be your go to guys for A Better Homo and Garden.

However, I am someone who enjoys riffing on a good idea like their brilliant Crunchy Caramel Popcorn Layer Cake with Rye Whiskey Buttercream:

Rye Whiskey? I prefer Kentucky Bourbon.

Layer cake? Let’s make cupcakes for a crowd instead.

Caramel  Cupcakes

yield: 2 dozen caramel cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 six-ounce containers vanilla yogurt (not greek)
  • 1 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

 

In another large bowl, combine the yogurt, caramel sauce, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the eggs, one at a time just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until it comes together.

Honestly, you can mix these cupcakes by hand, and they work wonderfully. Using a 1/4 cup measure or two large tablespoons, fill each cupcake liner a little over halfway full and bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Bourbon Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter, softened
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1/4 cup bourbon*
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for at least 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed, until nearly white in color. Add in 3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar, mixing on low to incorporate. Increase speed and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes longer. Add one cup of confectioner’s sugar, the bourbon and the cream, and mix together, again starting on low before increasing speed to medium.  Add in the remaining cup of sugar gradually, until desired consistency and taste is achieved.

Transfer to a piping bag or spread generously on cupcakes.

*My favorite bourbon that comes in right around the $20 dollar mark is Jim Beam Double Oaked. It offers a hefty flavor that translates well in this frosting and is pleasant to drink on its own (which is always a perk!). Feel free to experiment with your own favorites!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Here’s my recent post to my own Sour Cream Salted Caramel Sauce, or you can always buy a trusted delicious brand. Either way, you’ll need a total of 2 cups to use in the cupcakes and for decoration.

 

 

 

Assembly:

  • Pipe a ring of frosting.
  • Fill the center with caramel.
  • Pipe frosting to cover.
  • Drizzle with a little caramel.
  • Top with caramel popcorn.

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Caramel, Sauce

Sour Cream Salted Caramel Sauce

I love a good caramel sauce, and this is an adult version of a classic: salty, yes, but also tangy – a flavor profile that cuts through the sticky, buttery sweetness of caramel.

Here are a couple tips to perfect your caramel:

  • Use corn syrup, it helps prevent crystallization
  • When you start, whisk the sugar mixture until the sugar is dissolved, and then never whisk it again until you’re adding the cream and butter. If needed, swirl the pan when the sugar begins to brown.
  • Keep the cream and butter on a warm burner. It will never be as hot as the molten sugar, but adding warm cream will reduce the shock when you combine the mixture together.

I hope you’re ready to have your collective caramel minds blown:

Sour Cream Salted Caramel Sauce

yield: 2 cups (recipe can easily be halved)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

In a heavy-bottomed pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Set on a burner over low heat to begin to dissolve the sugar.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, combine the butter, heavy cream, and vanilla in a pan set over low heat to melt the butter.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high and boil without stirring until it’s a dark amber color. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream and butter. The mixture will spit and sputter and be all kinds of angry. Once it’s calmed down, whisk in the salt and sour cream.

Transfer the caramel to a heatproof bowl to allow it to cool. Serve on ice cream or use as an ingredient in cupcakes or, well, however you might want to use caramel.