Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Snickers Cupcakes




Whoa! Talk about Snickers overload cupcake! Each chocolate cupcake is filled with a mini Snickers bar, then topped with a caramel Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, then topped with homemade chocolate ganache and caramel, and then finally topped with another mini Snickers. Pretty amazing.

I need one of these cupcakes right now. For breakfast. With a gallon of coffee. Both my kiddos are sick and miserable, and sleeping in my bed. I think we've all had about 2.5 hours of sleep between the blowing of noses, checking for fevers, all the kicking (my 3 year old thinks it is cool to lie perpendicular to everyone else), and coughing. I think we all need a cupcake for breakfast because cupcakes make everyone feel better. Right?

I think you should make these today so that you can have one for breakfast tomorrow too. But I'm not going to lie. These cupcakes take some time. The cupcake is the easy part - boxed mix! I'm all for baking from scratch but I have yet to find a thick enough homemade batter than can hold up the candy inside. I've tried my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and it just doesn't work. The candy sinks right to the bottom. I'll keep trying though.



The frosting and toppings take the most effort, but there are easy ways to save time. You could swap out an American buttercream for the Swiss meringue buttercream. (I talk more about this at the end of the post). You could make only one of the drizzles for the top, or leave them off all together. It would still be fantastic! 

But if you have the time and want to give homemade caramel and Swiss meringue buttercream a try, then go all out and use this recipe. I highly recommend it! The frosting is the most satiny, smooth, creamy, not-too-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth frosting you will ever taste. And homemade caramel? I'm pretty sure you can guess how good that is. Go for it! You won't be sorry! 

Snickers Cupcakes
Servings: 22 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 (15.25 oz.) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm coffee (or water, but the coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor)
22 mini Snickers, frozen

Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting: (* please see note at bottom)
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
5 tbsp. water
5 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 large egg whites
3 sticks +  6 tbsp. (30 tbsp. total) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

Chocolate ganache topping (optional):
2 oz. 60% dark chocolate bar, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. honey

Caramel topping (optional):
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

11 mini Snickers, cut in half, for topping


To prepare the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cupcake pans with liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cake mix and pudding mix together. 

Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Using a large cookie scoop, add a small amount (~1/2 cookie scoop) of batter into the bottom of each well (enough that the bottoms are completely covered). Place a frozen mini Snickers on top. Top with another ~1/2 scoop of batter so that the wells are 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the very top comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


To prepare the frosting: In a medium saucepan, add 3/4 cup sugar. Mix in the water. Cover. Do not stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat. After it boils for a few minutes, remove the lid. Continue cooking over med-low heat until the sugar starts to turn a deep amber color (like an old penny). Gently swirl the pan to mix if necessary. Immediately remove from heat. 

Slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking. Be careful because the caramel will violently bubble. Continue whisking until smooth. Whisk in the salt and vanilla. Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer (not boil). Wipe out the mixing bowl and wire whisk of the stand mixer with distilled vinegar or lemon juice. Also, wipe down any spatula that will touch the meringue. 

Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and egg whites to the mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the saucepan with the simmering water. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 160°. Immediately remove from heat and return to the mixer. 

Using the whisk attachment, whip for 5 minutes on medium speed. Then whip for another 5-8 minutes on med-high speed, or until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixing bowl is cool to the touch.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on med-low, add in one cube of butter at a time, waiting until each cube is incorporated before adding the next. 

If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, don't worry and keep mixing. (Check out Sweetapolita's website for tricks if your frosting isn't coming together.) 

Keep mixing until a smooth, glossy frosting forms. Slowly pour in the cooled caramel. (If your caramel has solidified and won't pour, warm slightly over low heat until just pourable.) Continue mixing for 3-5 minutes. 

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. I used an Ateco #828 tip.


To prepare the chocolate ganache topping: Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan until just beginning to steam (do not boil). Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Mix well. Stir in the corn syrup and honey.

Let cool at room temperature until slightly warm, but not hot enough to melt the frosting. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of each cupcake using a spoon.


To prepare the caramel toppingIn a medium saucepan, add 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in the water. Cover. Do not stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat. After it boils for a few minutes, remove the lid. Continue cooking over med-low heat until the sugar starts to turn a deep amber color (like an old penny). Gently swirl the pan to mix if necessary. Immediately remove from heat. 

Slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking. Be careful because the caramel will violently bubble. Continue whisking until smooth. Whisk in the salt and vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Drizzle the caramel over the top of each cupcake using a spoon.

Top each cupcake with half of a mini Snickers.


(* Note: This frosting tastes delicious but takes some time. First, you make homemade caramel, then make a Swiss meringue frosting. It is a creamy, buttery frosting that isn't as sweet as a traditional American buttercream. If you like a sweeter frosting or are short on time, then I suggest making a caramel American buttercream. Also, Swiss meringue buttercream can be a little intimidating at first. I recommend checking out Sweetapolita's website for tips if this is your first time making it.)


(Gluten-free option: Just eat the frosting (my favorite part anyways) or substitute your favorite gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe)


Sources: cupcakes adapted from My Baking Addiction, frosting adapted from Sweetapolita

No comments:

Post a Comment