Caramel Cupcakes Daring Baker Challenge! (with a bittersweet chocolate ganache surprise)

Caramel Cupcakes Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This month’s Daring Baker Challenge was submitted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity (where you will find the recipes) and features a cake by Shuna from Eggbeater. The challenge is a fabulous study in caramel! The rich, moist cake is flavored with caramel syrup and then topped with a brown butter frosting that also gets its flare from the syrup. In the end I added a bit of dark chocolate ganache, which is a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the cake. I decorated the top of my sweet caramel cupcakes with giant roses, which I’ll show you how to make!

Hollowed out cupcakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I baked the batter in cupcake papers and got about 28 in all, they took about 15 minutes to bake. After they came out of the oven and cooled I cut a small portion from the top using a paring knife.

I filled the holes with bittersweet chocolate ganache:

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate (72%), finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1 teaspoon rum (or vanilla)

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until simmering. Place the chocolate in a medium size bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Make sure all the chocolate is covered and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Gently stir the chocolate mixture until perfectly smooth, not lumps. Add the butter and stir until melted and smooth. Add the creme fraiche and rum and stir. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature.

Piping dark chocolate ganache into cupcakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once the ganache is set up at room temperature you can pipe it into the cupcakes using a piping bag and round tip.  It makes for a nice surprise in the center of your cupcake!

Now we can pipe the roses using the caramelized butter frosting from the challenge (recipe available at Culinary Curiosity) or any other buttercream or frosting.

You will need:

a Piping Bag and a large rose tip

A Large Rose nail (the thing that looks like a giant thumb tack)

Kitchen Shears

The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum has a nice description of the piping out an icing rose.

Piping icing | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Your icing needs to be quite stiff to pull this off. If you icing is too soft, the rose will not hold its shape. You may need to add more powdered sugar to the icing to get the right consistency. Start by piping a large blob of icing in the center of the nail. You need to make sure that you build this blob up quite a bit so that you have room to work down from the top of it.

Piping icing | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Now you will create the rose bud at the center of the flower. Hold the base of the nail in your left hand and the bag of icing at a 45° angle. The wide end of the rose tip will be facing down. Touch the tip to the top of your mound and as you squeeze the icing out rotate your nail counter clockwise. You will create a ribbon of icing and you will move the tip to the bottom of the mound. See above picture.

Piping icing | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To create the petals you will start just where the bud and the mound meet. Again holding the bag at a 45° angle, you will squeeze the bag as you twist the nail counter clockwise. This time you only want to go nearly half way around the bud. Repeat on the other side.

Piping decorative icing | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To create the rest of the petals start in the middle of the last piped petal and repeat, but this time 5 petals all the way around your rose until you have it as full as you like.

Placing decorative icing on cupcake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once your rose is piped to your liking, take your kitchen shears and cut the rose off the nail, right at the base. You will not want to completely shut the scissors, but leave them open enough to support the rose as you carry it to the cupcake. See how my scissors are still slightly open in above picture. Then I just lift off.

Caramel Cupcakes Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Carefull place the rose onto the cake or caramel cupcakes.

Thank you to Shuna and the other hosts for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge, Alex from the blondie and brownie duo and Jenny from Foray into Food! It was fun and delicious!

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49 thoughts to “Caramel Cupcakes Daring Baker Challenge! (with a bittersweet chocolate ganache surprise)”

  1. I always wondered how to get the icing rose off the nail and onto the cake in one piece! Brilliant!

    These look amazing and the ganache is just the perfect touch. As usual, Zoe!

  2. I’m loving the ganache with the flavor of this cake — and the roses on the cupcakes are beautiful. I’ve never tried to make them, so maybe it’s about time. You’re so inspirational!

  3. thank you so much for teaching us how to make the roses. I have always wondered how to make them..I can’t wait to try them out myself. Thanks!

  4. wow, those look great. The ganache is a great idea and thanks for showing us how you made the roses. They are a fabulous finishing touch.

  5. I came so close to adding some chocolate element to my cake as well, since I’m certain it would have paired beautifully with the sweet caramel cake and frosting.

    Lovely piping job, by the way!

  6. This is brilliant! We have 2 things in common for this challenge: the chocolate ganache and the buttercream roses (which i had the idea of in one of the latest post of Deb from Smitten kitchen). But your idea of hiding the chocolate ganache is much much great.. and.. obviously, next time I’ll want to pipe roses, I’ll have to follow your step-by-step photos..
    your cupcakes are beautiful!

  7. Whooee! what a fantastic surprise in your gorgeous rose cupcake! I haven’t made buttercream roses for a while…I’ll have to root around my toolbox to see if I have a tip that large! Your tip appears to be quite large! I have tip envy.

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