I would also like to say, if you just need a chocolate cake recipe, feel free to use this one. I ate three of the cupcakes before they were frosted and I don't even like chocolate cake! I will be using this recipe many more times.
~makes 32 cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks of butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs (room temp)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee
2 sticks slightly softened butter
1 8oz package of Philly Cream Cheese (room temp)
1 cup caramel
1 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups confectionery sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
dark chocolate bar for shavings
I'm going to give the directions of this recipe slightly different and in the order that I did them. First thing I did was made my caramel.
On medium heat, mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover for 3 minutes.
After three minutes uncover (do not stir from this point on). Let the mixture boil for 8 to 10 minutes shaking the pan lightly to keep the sugar from burning until it reaches that beautiful caramel color. If you start to smell even the faintest smell of sugar burning, remove from heat, it's done!
Pour in cream and stir. Be careful the mixture will bubble up and be very hot. Stir in butter until melted, then stir in lemon.
Preheat your oven to 400
Brew your coffee. I put 3/4 cup of water in my coffee maker and two tablespoons of coffee in the filter. Add the cinnamon to the coffee before you brew it. Set aside to cool
In a large measuring cup or small bowl combine milk, coffee, vanilla extract and vanilla bean.
If you have never used vanilla beans before what you need to do is slice the vanilla bean length wise with a very sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and put them in to your milk mixture. When using a whole vanilla bean it can help to slice it in half first.
In a large bowl whisk together you flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside
It's really important that your butter is room temp and that you mix it with the sugar for the full three minutes. This is the base of your batter and it determines your consistency. Your eggs should also be at room temp. Mix them in one at a time.
Add your dry ingredients in thirds alternating with your coffee, milk, vanilla mixture. So a third of the dry, mix, a third of the wet, mix.....and so on until it's all combined.
Scoop in to cupcake liners. Drop you oven to 350 just as you put them in and leave them in for 20 minutes. You can turn your cupcakes after 12 minutes in the oven for more even cooking. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Once your cupcakes have cooled, combine butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Your cream cheese should be at room temp, but your butter only needs to be left out for about a half hour or so. This will allow you to get a slightly stiffer frosting without adding a boat load of sugar.
Once your butter and cream cheese is well combined add 2 cups of confectionery sugar and mix well. Add salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt) and caramel.
Once frosted, sprinkle with sea salt and chocolate shavings if you wish.
You can shave chocolate by scraping a sharp chopping knife along the length of a dark chocolate bar.