This months book for the cupcake book club was Rosie Hopkins sweet shop of dreams. I loved the book, especially as it is set in two different time periods. The only downside of the book is that I had constant pick and mix cravings!
Deciding on a cupcake to make was a little harder, I was not going to make a liquorice or aniseed flavoured one that's for sure. The book does talk about peanut brittle and soft caramels a lot and so I combined the two to come up with my cupcake.
I made a peanut butter cupcake with a salted caramel centre. I topped it with salted caramel buttercream and homemade peanut brittle.
Slight confession, I did not make my own caramel. I used dulce de leche from a jar, heated it in a bowl over simmering water and added in sea salt until I decided the caramel had been salted enough. It was delicious and I had already stickyed up enough pans making the brittle.
Confession number two, the first time I made the brittle I did not let the caramel get quite hot enough and decided to put it BACK on the heat AFTER I had added the butter. I did not end up with brittle. More of a fudgy/tablet thing with peanuts in, still, someone who shall remain nameless is polishing it off so its not all bad. My second brittle was much better!
Peanut and salted caramel cupcakes
For the brittle
90g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
65g peanuts (I used salted)
2g baking powder
For the cupcakes
130g peanut butter (I used crunchy)
100g caster sugar
75g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
dulce de leche (about 2/3s of a jar)
For the frosting
2 tablespoons milk
Have everything weighed out ready before you start and butter a baking sheet.
Put the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the peanuts, keep boiling, stirring frequently until a sugar thermometer reads 150C. If, like me, you do not have a sugar thermometer drop a little of the caramel into cold water, it is ready when it forms very hard, brittle strands.
Take of the heat and immediately stir in the butter and baking powder. Tip onto your prepared sheet and leave to cool.
Once cool snap into pieces.
Peanut and salted caramel cupcakes
Line a cupcake/muffin tin with liners and preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN.
Cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla paste together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in-between.
Mix the flour with the baking powder and add a third of it to the butter mix. Mix utill combined then add a third of the milk and mix until combined. Continue this way until all the flour and milk has been incorporated.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and springy.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
While the cakes are cooling sort out the caramel. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and add the dulce de leche to the bowl. Heat gently and add a little sea salt. Stir to dissolve and incorporate the salt. Taste. Add a little more salt a pinch at a time. When the caramel is salted to your liking, stop.
Set the caramel aside to cool.
When the cakes are fully cold, make a little hollow in each one, reserving the cone.
Fill the hole you have just created with the (cooled) salted caramel. Pop the cone back in, trimming it to fit.
For the frosting, beat the butter and sugar until it comes together (yes I know, the icing sugar will go everywhere). Add the milk a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until very light and fluffy. Beat in the caramel a spoonful at a time until it is incorporated and the frosting tastes enough of caramel for your liking.
Top the cupcakes with the frosting, I used a palette knife, and a piece of the brittle. Enjoy.