On October 15th I attended a surprise going-away party for one of my best(est) friends, Stephanie. Stephanie is moving with her boyfriend from Washington DC to Pittsburgh, and though I’ll be able to see her every once in a while, it won’t be as frequent as when she was living a few miles away from me.
For her surprise party, I decided to combine some of her favorite things: almonds; salted caramel; coffee; chocolate. I found out about the surprise party a day or two before, so I was limited to the local Whole Foods for ingredients. I only had one chocolate cupcake recipe on hand and that hadn’t turned out perfect last time I baked it. I decided to use the same recipe (upped the chocolate chips to 1/2 a bag and cooked for 25 minutes exactly) and they turned out perfectly! I think it was because I was baking with love (^_^) and used sturdier liners this time.
Before filling the liners, I crushed up some almond biscuits with a little melted butter in the food processor and pressed them into the bottoms of the liners. I then put the batter in, baked them, and waited for them to cool. Once cool, I cored them. I heated up the caramel, added some fleur de sel to balance the sweetness, and mixed to combine.
The caramel cream cheese frosting was made with dark, un-spiced rum as well as some more fleur de sel. I tried piping the frosting on, but my tip wasn’t working so I just cut a hole in the bag and worked from there. Since the caramel had been warm, it was thinner in consistency and seeped into the cake, leaving a space for the caramel cream cheese to fall in to, no matter how carefully I tried to balance the frosting on top.
I finished the top of the cupcakes with toasted almond slivers, a sprinkle of fleur de sel, and a drizzling of salted caramel.
Everyone seemed to love these cupcakes, and when I got a chance to try one the next day, they were delicious! The recipe yielded 28 cupcakes (probably because of the extra chocolate chips I put in), so some of them had almond cookie crusts and some didn’t.