by Helen Jenkins, currently living the high life in San Francisco :o)
Give me a dessert any day. Main meals? Yawn. Why stand in front of the cooker for
an hour making something that will be gobbled down in less than 10 minutes. It doesn’t come
naturally to me and I’m just not that good at it. Even my nearly-2 year old doesn’t think much
of mummy’s cooking. This evening, she un-plated her dinner on to the table. Charming.
Cakes on the other hand, I could happily take forever to bake something and it be gobbled down
within 10 seconds I don’t care. Not that I’m any better at it than main meals, mind. But the
difference in enjoyment is phenomenal. I‘ve been quietly excited in my house all week waiting
to get a moment to bake these insanely appealing Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes, which are all
the rage on Pinterest.
I was slumped over my laptop for far too long looking for the simplest of the Popcorn Cupcake
recipes (I ended up combining two recipes) especially ignoring ones that didn’t call for making
your own caramel. I need to make these things FAST before the nearly-2 year old pulls down
the oven door trying to climb to see (stupid American design), or the 3 year old cries because
I’m not yet giving her the bowl to lick. This time round the 2 year old poured a pint of water all
over the worktop and I managed to create a layer of uncooked cupcake goo everywhere.
They’re not going to do my husbands diet any good (He just got infatuated with his new
weighing scales gizmo from Withings which apparently lets him ‘quantify himself’ – what?
Anyway, it connects him digitally from the moment he stands on the scales, it reads his
weight & heart rate, counts his steps and tells him if he’s had a good night’s sleep.
The gizmo then publishes it all up to the digital cloud in the sky so he can see it on an app
on his mobile phone, so he can tell me that he’s lost weight. I could tell him that when
I stand next to him on the scales and see his weight, or sleep next to him in bed and hear
him snore. I digress… (I’m just jealous that I’ve not lost as much weight as him in his first week).
So, back to these heavenly cupcakes. Just try them. They turned out really soft and springy.
The kids gobbled them up in no time. I think I’m going to serve them at my nearly-2 year old’s
second birthday, except I might just make really mini versions though - they’re rather sweet.
No good for the husband’s obsession with his weighing scales. So tomorrow, I’ll be sending
the remaining cupcakes in to his office for them to get fat on instead. I might just have to keep
one though…. Or two… Aaagh, I can’t give them up!
Caramel Popcorn Cupcake Recipe
Ingredients for the Cupcakes (found these on Best Home Chef, by Melissa Darr)
125g butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder (I added this as I don’t think the ‘Cake Flour’ here has a raising agent in it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
12 Werther’s Original sweets (Yum, but optional for the centre filling.
I took one taste of the butterscotch frosting and figured I didn’t need any more sweetness).
Ingredients for the Butterscotch Frosting (found this on Fine Cooking, by Greg Patent)
60g unsalted butter
90g firmly packed dark brown sugar
60ml heavy cream; more as needed
170g icing sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Set out muffin papers in muffin tin.
Beat butter, vanilla and brown sugar with mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time; beat in golden syrup.
Fold in sifted dry ingredients and milk.
Fill the cupcake papers half way and make an indent in the mixture.
Pop one Werthers Original sweet (optional) in the indent and place the rest of the mixture on top.
Bake for about 25-30mins.
Set cupcakes aside to cool.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the brown sugar and stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon.
After 2 to 3 minutes, the sugar will melt and smooth out, and the mixture will begin to
bubble (it’s alright if it still looks separated at this point).
Once this happens, stir constantly for 2 minutes (less if the sugar smells like it’s burning).
Carefully add the cream and stir constantly for another 2 minutes.
The mixture will thicken slightly and look smooth and glossy.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla with the wooden spoon. If the frosting seems
a little dry, beat in more cream, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it’s thick, smooth, and spreadable.
Swirl on a bit of Butterscotch Frosting and throw a few caramel popcorns on top.
Thank you Helen! We'll be trying these beauties over the weekend. xxx