Monday, September 24, 2012

Mini Orange Cupcakes with Miso Caramel Buttercream

Mini orange cupcakes with miso caramel buttercream

Everyone is gaga over salted caramel … it's fabulous as a buttercream for cakes and cupcakes; you can make it into a sauce to slather your ice cream; or you can take it a step further and make a full ice cream out of it. Everyone from David Lebovitz and Jeni Britton-Bauer to your favorite blog and neighborhood cupcake shop are making it, so why shouldn't you?

However, if you're anything like me, you like to stand out a bit from the crowd. So what about a salted caramel with a twist? Something sophisticated, but totally approachable? Then try using miso in place of salt!

Some people may prefer white miso, which has a more subtle flavor, but I found that the red miso I used gave the buttercream a great flavor—and to keep it in check from being overwhelming, I just used less of the paste.

These cupcakes, when made into minis, are a perfect 1-2 bite dessert that can be served as an elegant conclusion to a dinner party with friends, or as part of an endless buffet of finger foods for a board game night (that's what I did!) 

Mini Orange Cupcakes with Miso Caramel Buttercream
Yields approximately 48 mini cupcakes

Orange mini cupcake ingredients
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp orange extract

Miso caramel buttercream ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp red miso
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Sanding Sugar

Begin with the miso caramel first so it has time to cool before adding it to the buttercream.
Stir together granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, then bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Cook without stirring until the mixture turns amber. Remove from heat and slowly add in the heavy cream, stirring until very smooth.

Stir in the red miso.

Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is room temperature and still pourable.

For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line mini cupcake pans with papers.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs for 20 seconds, then add the sugar and whisk an additional 30 seconds until thick and frothy.

Add the oil and orange extract, and beat until combined. Alternate the flour mixture and buttermilk and beat until combined.

Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 8-10 minutes. To check doneness, the top of the cupcake will spring back from your touch when they're ready to be removed from the oven.

Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the miso caramel frosting, beat butter in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.

Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and mix on slow to combine.

Pour in the miso caramel sauce, scraping everything you can out of the pan. Mix on low until incorporated.

Add the remaining sugar 1/2 cup at a time, tasting until you hit your desired sweetness (you should use a total of 2 to 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar).

To assemble, fit your piping bag with a French tip and fill with the miso caramel buttercream.

Hold the pastry bag straight down over the cupcake top and pipe directly onto the surface, pulling up into a point—making the frosting looks almost like a ridged Hershey Kiss.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar for a little extra sparkle.