Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

So, a couple weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (yeay!). We had saved part of our wedding cake from the year before, as tradition told us to, but to be honest, I did not have high hopes for this cake. I mean, it had been frozen for 1 YEAR! 
But, I shouldn't have doubted our wonderful cake and the talents of the amazing baker who made it. IT WAS SO MOIST! It was was pretty much like it was a year ago (not that I can remember exactly). Granted, the edges were a little mushy and the fondant had kind of smushed into the cake in parts (although that was probably due to the fact that my wonderful husband dropped it out of the freezer one day), but for just been double plastic wrapped, I'd say that it was pretty amazing.

Anyway, what does that have to do with that gorgeous picture above you may ask? Well, eating that delectable cake reminded me of the moist and delicious cake for those peanut butter hot fudge cupcakes I made. I HAD to make them again. I decided to change it up though and made them into chocolate turtle cupcakes! Chocolate, caramel, pecans...what's not to like?

I even decided to go the extra mile and make my own caramel sauce too! Don't be scared to try it! It was easy! I would recommend using a light colored pan just so you can see the color of the caramel as it's cooking. It can go from just right to burnt fast! If you don't have a light colored saucepan (I didn't), then you can test your color on a white plate or other surface.  Below is what the sauce should look like when all is said and done.

These cupcakes came out great! The next time I might make extra frosting and add some to the center of the cupcake as well (why not right?) to make them really over the top!

yes, that is a mini version :) ...don't judge me!

chocolate turtle cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
{recipe for hot fudge and cupcakes slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen}
{recipe for frosting and caramel sauce slightly adapted from Annie's Eats}

For the hot fudge:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water or scalding milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and flour in bowl of double boiler. Bring water or milk to a boil in another saucepan or in the microwave. Gradually add hot liquid to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens
  2. Once desired thickness is reached, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Use fudge in cupcake batter, as directed (see below), and then to drizzle over baked cupcakes. Store the rest of the sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
For the cupcakes:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup homemade hot fudge (see above)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to wet mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Gently mix in fudge sauce.
  4. Fill cupcake liners with batter about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool cupcakes in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the caramel sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cups heavy cream, warmed
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Spread sugar in even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all sugar is melted, making sure not to over stir. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove saucepan from heat (to test the color drop onto a white plate or bowl). Carefully pour half of the heavy cream into the saucepan in a steady stream down edge of pan, whisking constantly. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until cream is well incorporated, then whisk in remaining cream. Stir in salt and vanilla. If any sugar has seized or hardened, place saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1 1/8 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine cream cheese, butter and caramel sauce in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in confectioners' sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. 


Transfer the frosting to pastry bag and pipe a swirl on top of each cooled cupcake. Using a small spoon scoop an indentation in the center of the frosting. In small bowl, mix together caramel sauce and chopped pecans. Fill indentations in the frosting with a small spoonful of the caramel-pecan mixture. Drizzle cupcakes with additional caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce and sprinkle with additional pecans, if desired.

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