While walking through the candy aisle at the grocery store the other day, I got an idea to make Snickers cupcakes. I picked up some mini candy bars as well as caramels and caramel sauce. I knew I wanted to do a chocolate cupcake base with a caramel filling but wasn't sure if I wanted to use a caramel candy or caramel sauce for the filling. For frosting, I went with a caramel buttercream and then topped the cupcakes with chopped Snickers pieces for garnish.
For the cake, I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe - the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe. I love this recipe because it mixes up extremely fast and always turns out a rich, moist cake. To experiment with the caramel filling, first I baked the cupcakes and added a caramel candy to the center for the last three minutes of baking time. I wasn't a fan of these though because although the caramel softens in the oven, it quickly hardens back up and makes a very difficult to eat, hard center to the cupcakes.
On to plan B, the caramel sauce. I hollowed out a cone shape in the center of the cupcake using a paring knife and filled them with a little caramel sauce. I much preferred this method for the caramel filling. You can make your own caramel sauce or just buy the caramel sauce found in the grocery store, like ice cream topping.
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners. Recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Combine sugar through salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on low until just incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes. Stir in boiling water, the batter will be thin. Transfer batter to prepared pans, filling each liner about 2/3 of the way full, approximately 1/4 cup of batter. Bake approximately 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans about five minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, use a paring knife to cut a small cone shape out of the top of each cupcake. Add caramel sauce as desired. You can cut the point off the cone and add it back to the cupcake if desired.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
8 mini Snickers bar for garnish
Beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add caramel sauce, heavy cream and vanilla and mix to incorporate. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated to reach the right consistency. Increase speed to medium-high and whip about one minute until light and fluffy. Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes or frost as desired.
Coarsely chop candy bars and sprinkle over the top of cupcakes.