Cashew Caramel Crunch Cupcakes

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These cupcakes combine salty and sweet with just the right amount of crunchy goodness. They are topped with Vanilla Bean SMB, drizzled with bourbon caramel sauce and sprinkled with caramel cashew crunch pieces. 

Caramel Cashew Crunch Cupcake

 

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk  

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 1/2 Sweetalopia SMB recipe here (she does a great job describing the process :)

Caramel Cashew Crunch

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper  

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar  
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 shot of espresso (I used a teaspoon of instant espresso powder and a 1/4 of a cup of sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

Directions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time. Then alternatively add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture (beginning and ending with flour) and beat until just combined.  

Divide the batter into a lined mini muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Then, move to a wire rack to cool.  

Buttercream:

 Follow the buttercream recipe.  

 Caramel Cashew Crunch:

 In a small sauté pan, melt butter until it begins to sizzle, add almonds and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Stir continually until sugar melts and cashews begin to turn brown.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Pour out onto wax paper and spread evenly to cool.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

In a heavy saucepan bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat.

Once the mixture comes to a golden blonde caramel color, remove from the heat and stir in cream and the bourbon.

Pour into a heat-proof squeeze bottle and let cool. 

 Assembly:

Fill a pastry bag fitted with the pastry tip of your choice with the buttercream. Pipe buttercream on top of cupcake.  Drizzle with warm caramel sauce and top with cashew crunch. 

Yields about 4 dozen mini cupcakes. 

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