White Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cupcakes

I haven't been able to get the white chocolate and salted caramel combo out of my head since reading this post by Emily when we were all baking our little hearts out during the Great British Bake Off. And let's be honest, now you've been made aware of this heavenly partnering, you probably won't be able to resist either.

And do you know what? After all the baking I did for my bake-off bake along, I thought it would be nice to take things back to basics, y'know go back to where it all started - cupcakes. Although I used to be quite interested in baking as a child, it sort of dropped off when I was a teenager, until I was at uni with more free hours than I knew what to do with. I didn't have much money (or skill) so I started baking cupcakes - which my housemates really liked. It was a new way to procrastinate but also learn new skills. 

I have to say, I've come a long way since then but I still really enjoy making cupcakes because people in general really love them and I really enjoy working on my piping skills. I also think cupcakes are an easy way of experimenting with flavours and allow you to be quite creative.

Whats even cooler is now I'm a more confident baker, I'm experimenting more with the structure of the cake, for example, these cakes used light brown sugar instead of the usual caster, because I wanted a stronger flavour to go with the caramel, but I also think the sugar has helped the cakes come out fluffier and lighter - which is never a bad thing. 

White Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Makes 12

150g light brown sugar
150g unsalted butter or soft margarine
3 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

White Chocolate Icing:
100g white Chocolate
100g unsalted butter - softened
300g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

suggest this is pre-made

What You Need To Do
Preheat the oven to 170c (fan oven)
Cream together the fat and the sugar until pale and fluffy
Add one egg, mix well then add some flour and mix again, keep going until you've added all the eggs and the flour, make sure the batter is mixed well and smooth
Add the milk and the vanilla extract, give it one final mix
Divide into 12 cupcake cases in a prepared deep cupcake tin
Place in the oven and bake for 20 mins or until a light golden brown colour
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can get started on the icing
Place the chocolate broken into pieces, into a bain marie and slowly melt the chocolate, when it is melted set to one side
Mix together the softened butter and icing sugar with the milk and vanilla extract, make sure the mixture is smooth by beating well
Add the cooled but still melted chocolate
Leave to cool
Get a piping bag and star piping nozzle (I use the Wilton 1M), fill the piping bag and pipe swirls onto your cakes starting from the outside make a circle in and upwards
Then when you're happy, drizzle your salted caramel over the top of the cakes

Make a cup of tea/coffee (optional) and enjoy!

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