Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes

I recognized a few years ago that whenever I was stressed out, I would always turn to baking to get my mind out of reality for a while. There’s something about creating delicious, intricate goodies that really helps me focus and enjoy what I do. Recently, I’ve been having a tough time balancing school, work, and my social life. I talked to a friend about this, and we agreed that I needed to spend more time giving my body what it wants rather than expecting myself to make mountains out of molehills with nothing to fuel my body. I spent the night watching my favourite shows, taking a long, hot bath, performing a skin care routine, and that’s also how these salted caramel cheesecake cupcakes came to life!

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I usually keep a jar of salted caramel sauce in my pantry because I can always find a use for it. It pairs great with ice cream, an apple dip, and it tastes incredible drizzled over banana bread French toast! I had some heavy cream left over, so I started with the caramel sauce a few nights before. I had planned to make cupcakes in the near future as they had been requested by my co-workers, so I figured I’d turn it into a delicious treat for my family and friends to enjoy!

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I began with my basic chocolate cupcake recipe. My mom actually asked me about different cupcake flavours recently, and I explained that no matter if you’re looking for cherry, strawberry, butterscotch, or even root beer-flavoured cupcakes, I always use the same chocolate or vanilla cupcake recipes as my building blocks onto crazier flavours. This is one of the baking essentials that you should note- everything follows the same structure. When you learn what works for you, you can go on to develop new flavours and combinations.

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In addition to my day-to-day responsibilities, I’m going to spend more time allowing myself to be creative and try new things. I’m very pleased that I’ve started to find a balance between fun and my responsibilities. Focusing solely on work has really burnt me out recently, so from now on, I’ll be spending a lot more time doing things that I enjoy doing… Luckily for my family and friends, that means a lot more treats are going to be churned out for my little guinea pigs! 

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SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE CUPCAKES

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25-28 minutes

Yield: 18 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcake:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Dash of salt

¾ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

 

Cheesecake:

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened

1 egg

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Icing:

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Caramel sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbsp. salted butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 tsp. salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.      First, prepare the caramel sauce as this needs to cool completely before you can decorate the cupcakes. In a saucepan, melt down sugar until a brown syrup forms.

2.      Stir in salted butter. Allow mixture to boil for several minutes, and slowly add the heavy cream, stirring continuously.

3.      When the mixture has boiled for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat. Mixture will thicken as it cools. Stir in the salt. Bottle the caramel sauce into a jar and allow it to cool.

4.      To prepare the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350F.

5.      In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

6.      In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully combined.

7.      In another small bowl, beat the cream cheese with egg, sugar, and vanilla.

8.      Prepare a muffin pan with liners. Fill halfway with cupcake batter, and top with a few tablespoons of cheesecake batter.

9.      Bake for 25-28 minutes, then allow cupcakes to cool.

10.  To prepare the frosting, beat softened cream cheese and butter. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. If frosting is too thick, it may be thinned out with a few tablespoons of milk of heavy cream.

11.  When cupcakes are completely cooled, core the centres out with a cupcake corer. Fill centres with caramel sauce. Pipe frosting onto cupcake and decorate with chocolate caramels, caramel drizzle, and a dash of sea salt!