Buttered Popcorn Cupcakeswith Sea Salt Caramel Frosting and Sauce
I have always had a thing for those Buttered Popcorn Jellie Bellies, when I tell people I like them, they react with a "yuk!". It makes sense though, that they are so delicious, because it's a buttery, salty, sweet flavor*WHICH, I LOVE!*. I personally just love those salty/sweet or spicy/bitter combos.
Anyway, when I saw Ellie make this Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream and Stef make these Popcorn Cupcakes, I was instantly inspired to make something with buttered popcorn. So the two things on my list were popcorn macarons and/or popcorn cupcakes. First up, CUPCAKES!
Then I found the butteriest base cupcake recipe I could find and ran with it.
I also had a lot of fun in the kitchen with others and made them with a baking and cooking group that I am currently leading. We had so much fun eating a lot of popcorn...with salted caramel sauce, making the cupcakes of course and then eating them. Start your own cooking and baking group, it's a lot of fun! :) You will never be lonely in the kitchen again. :)
Before we get started with the cupcakes and such, let's make some popcorn....
This is how I do it at my house:
-In a large pot, coat 1/2 cup of organic popcorn kernels with 2 tbs of veggie oil over medium heat and cover with a lid.
-Shake/slide by the pan handle as the kernels start to pop. Once the popping stops take off the heat immediately and turn off heat.
-Pour on a large piece of tin foil and let cool
-Melt 1/2 to 1 stick butter for about 1 minute in the microwave. Whisk in a pinch or two of sugar and salt and mix well. Butter should look creamy but be a liquid.
-Drizzle on popcorn as even as you can with a measuring cup. Place in a heatproof bowl and keep warm in the oven on the lowest temp of your oven. Beware that the bowl can be hot once you remove it from the oven-duh.
What you need *makes 24 regular size cupcakes*
11/2 cup AP flour
1 cup popcorn flour or use all AP flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp is best
1/4 cup pureed cream corn
2 eggs, room temp
2 egg whites, room temp
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup milk *infused with buttered popcorn* (optional)
1/4 cup buttered popcorn for milk
1 cup buttered popcorn for decorating cupcakes
What to do
-Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pans with cupcake liners
-In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium-low heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges.
-Stir in buttered popcorn and take off the heat to let steep for 10 minutes.
-Strain popcorn out of milk, add vanilla and set aside.
-In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, and salt.
-In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until a pale color and majorly fluffified in your stand mixer (3 minutes?)
-On a low speed, add purred creamed corn, and eggs one at a time.
-Alternate adding half the flour mixture, then half the milk mixture in two additions. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well but don't over beat.
-Pour batter into cupcake liners a little more than three-fourths full.
-Bake about 15 minutes until cupcakes are golden brown and when gently pressed with fingers, springs back.
-Set cupcake pan on cooling wrack and let cool a few minutes before transferring them directly on the cooling wrack to cool completely.
-Frost cupcakes with sea salt caramel buttercream, buttered popcorn, and drizzled caramel sauce.
Salted Caramel Buttercream/Sauce-by David Lebovit's
What you need1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt-to taste
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 stick salted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-3 tbs water, room temp
2-3 tbs of your salted caramel
What to do
-In a large heavy duty saucepan over medium to med-low heat, cook sugar without stirring until the sugar near the edges of the pan starts to liquefy.
-Using a wooden spoon, begin gently stirring, encouraging the melted sugar around the edges toward the center and delicately stirring up any sugar melting on the bottom as well. The sugar may look pebbly as it cooks, but keep going; it will melt completely as it turns amber color.
-Continue to cook until the sugar turns a deep brown color and starts to smoke a little. The darker you can cook the sugar without burning it, the better the final sauce will taste. You will know it's ready when the sugar is the color of a well-worn penny and smells slightly smokey.
-Remove the saucepan from the heat carefully and continue to stir, protecting your hands and arms, pour half the heavy cream-the mixture will bubble up furiously with just enough attitude but nothing you can't handle.
-Stir in the rest of the heavy cream until smooth.
-Stir in 2 tbs butter, vanilla, and salt to taste. Mix well.
-Pour into a heat proof container and set aside to cool for the buttercream frosting.
P.S. When I make the caramel again, I will take pics of the process and post. Pictures always help.
-On a low speed at first, cream butter and powdered sugar-then beat well until very fluffy, adding water a little at a time while mixing. The water will help with air volume.
-Add 2-3 tbs cooled salted caramel and beat another 4 minutes.
-Pipe frosting onto cupcakes or create smooth frosting whip.