I’m back! I know, I haven’t really been gone all that long, but it sure feels like ages since I’ve blogged. November and December are just super busy months for me. I know most of it is self-induced – if I could somehow just let things be less than perfectly planned for once, if I could just go with the flow and ignore my messy kitchen or the piling laundry for an evening…if I could just go to bed before midnight – I’m sure I would at least feel like I have more time on my hands. Instead, these last few weeks at the end of the year become a flurry of entertaining, baking, shopping, more baking, more shopping, cleaning, preparing for guests, all on top of our normally crazy schedule.
And I wouldn’t change a bit.
I absolutely love the last six or seven weeks of the year. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, focused on friends and family (not on presents or gifts) – there’s just nothing better than sitting down at a big table full of comfort food and laughing with your loved ones. And nothing makes me happier than spending the next few weeks planning for a magical, memorable Christmas for my girls. There are just so many fun things to do – visits to see Santa, building gingerbread houses, Christmas movies, decorating, baking…the list goes on. So, unfortunately even though I’ve been baking up a storm, I haven’t had a lot of time to stop and take pictures so I can share the recipes with you. This recipe, however, just needs to be shared with you. It’s completely amazing.
I’m a big fan of toffee so the minute I saw this recipe I knew I needed to make it immediately. So, I did. And you should too! These consist of a basic chocolate cake and are topped with a thick chocolate ganache rolled in toffee chips, finished off with a dollop of caramel swiss meringue buttercream. Magnificent, and really not that difficult.
I would suggest you buy the plain toffee chips, not the chocolate and toffee chips – they aren’t as crumbly and the chocolate version has a bit of a chocolate dust that makes them not as pretty. You could skip the swiss meringue buttercream, but I really think it makes the cupcake, so I say go for it.
***I’m sure some of you are eagerly anticipating the results of my recent giveaway: GLAD’s Cookies for Cancer. The winner is: entry number 10, Dee! Dee, look for an email from me soon and I’ll get your items shipped out. Thanks to all who helped out for such an amazing cause.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute 1 cup of milk with 2 Tablespoons white vinegar)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare 24 cupcake tins with greaseproof, high-quality cupcake liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the side and bottom of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla, then reduce mixer to low and add half of the dry ingredients, beating only until they disappear. Add buttermilk, and beat only until well incorporated. Add the remaining dry ingredients, again scraping the bowl as needed. Add the melted chocolate and fold in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among cupcake tins.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch, and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then unmold them and cool to room temperature before frosting.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz dark/bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1.5- 2 cups toffee bits in a shallow, flat bowl (can be found in the chocolate chip section of the grocery store)
In a medium glass bowl, heat cream in microwave (or on stovetop) until steaming but not boiling. Add chocolate to steaming milk, and allow to sit for 1 minute. Add butter, and carefully whisk mixture until completely smooth. Place mixture in refrigerator to cool and thicken, whisking every 5-10 minutes for even cooling. Once a thick, pipeable consistency is achieved, remove from refrigerator and spoon into a piping bag equipped with a 1/4 inch round tip. Pipe a ring of the thickened ganache around the outer edge of each cupcake. Press the frosted cupcake down into the bowl of toffee bits.
Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients:
5 large or jumbo egg whites
1.5 cups of sugar
3 sticks (1.5 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 2 TBS pieces, slightly softened
1/3 cup caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
1.5 Tablespoons vanilla extract
Bring a small amount of water to a rolling boil on the stove top. Whisk together egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Place over rolling water (similar to a double boiler) and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. Immediately transfer bowl to stand mixer and whisk on medium high speed until the eggs form stiff peaks AND the bowl is cooled to room temperature. Switch to the paddle attachment and add butter 2 pieces at a time until incorporated. Continue to beat the mixture until it forms a smooth, silky frosting. If the mixture is runny or begins to curdle, do not fear – just keep beating until it comes together.
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats