I have a confession to make. This is kind of embarrassing. I don’t know if I should be revealing this to the world.
I’ve never had a caramel macchiato. Not one. Not even a taste. In fact, I didn’t even drink coffee until June. Oh man oh man oh man… I was missing out.
I lived in Manhattan for a while this summer. Seven weeks. It was vibrant. It was lively. It was hot. My God, it was hot. 100 something degree weather mixed with 5 million percent humidity does something to a person. Something unimaginable. Something unthinkable… something that Starbucks lives for. That extraordinary heat turned me, a coffee-loathing, religiously devoted tea drinker, into a downright iced coffee fiend. Maybe the three Starbucks that I passed by on my 5 block walk home (yeah.) from dance sent me subliminal messages. Maybe that green mermaid is a spy. (*insert illuminati joke here*) Whatever it was, it worked. Hello my name is Jordana and I am obsessed with coffee.
I can now go out for coffee and not be that awkward one drinking tea. I can indulge in cappuccinos and lattes and caffe mochas like sophisticated coffee shop hipsters do. I can drink caramel macchiatos (still haven’t.. but at least I know I can), and more importantly, I can make coffee-inspired baked goods without the whole “well, I don’t actually like coffee” situation going on. Thank you, mystical Starbucks gods. You’ve changed me.
These are fancy pants cupcakes. They have a sufficiently snobby name. They’re suitable for a brie cheese, fois gras, and truffle oil dinner. They have really ideal table manners and they’re very haute couture. However! If you were, hypothetically, to eat these while watching the VMA pre-show and several episodes of Jersey Shore… I don’t think anyone would judge.
**ALSO! Does anyone notice my new snazzy header?! Thanks to the awesome Patrice Bedard, Flour Child is all spiced up! Check her out!
Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cupcakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour water over espresso powder; let cool. Combine espresso with milk. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with espresso-milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (batter may look broken).
Fill 15 cups (of two 12-cup muffin tins) three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.
For the coffee glaze: (don’t skip this!)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee (not espresso)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir all ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is completely dissolved. Poke several small holes in the top of each cupcake, and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of glaze on each. Do not be afraid to over-moisten the cupcakes, they will soak up the liquid perfectly. Also- it is okay to glaze the cupcakes when they are still warm, just let them cool before frosting!
For the frosting:
First, make a caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel (or any other sea salt. even kosher salt will do in a pinch.)
1/4 cup sour cream
Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together cream and salt over a very low heat, stirring often. Be careful not to let the cream burn or boil, but keep it warm.
When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel and stir rapidly. It will bubble frantically. Remove from heat, and whisk in sour cream. Cool completely, and then reserve 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce on the side to drizzle on top of the cupcakes once they are finished.
Then, make the frosting:
1 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
Pinch of kosher
1 pound (4 sticks) butter
Cooled caramel sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
While the caramel cools, place the sugar, the egg whites and the salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160° Fahrenheit. Be sure to stir from the moment that the bowl touches the heat, or else the egg whites will cook onto the bowl. *If this happens, simply strain the cooked egg white mixture through a fine mesh sieve before using in the frosting.
Fit the standing mixer with the whisk attachment and put the bowl in place. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed and beat until stiff peaks have formed
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and begin adding the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time (it really needs to be room temperature/soft before doing this). Beat until the butter is no longer visible, and add in more, until it is all added. At some point it will look curdled and broken, but just keep on beating and beating until it gets smooth again. This could take a few minutes, but have no fear. It will come together! Just keep beating!
Slowly add in the caramel (still reserving the 1/3 cup that you left out from before) and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-low until combined and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Frost each cupcake, and then drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Indulge.
Starbucks is taking over. C’est la vie.