turtle cupcakesMost of the time when I want to whip up a batch of cupcakes, I reach for an easy boxed mix, bake 'em, throw some frosting and sprinkles on top, and call it a day.

But now that the weather is getting a little chillier and I'm spending more time indoors, I think I just might be up for the challenge of trying this Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes recipe from Bakers Royale.

OMG. Turtles. They're only, like, the best candy EVER. They're sweet. And gooey. And comforting. And holy moly I can't even imagine how satisfying it will be to bite into a cupcake full of all kinds of turtle goodness.

Yes, this recipe is pretty in depth, and I won't lie, it's a tad intimidating. But something tells me it comes with a pretty awesome sense of accomplishment once these luscious treats are done and ready to be devoured.

I think I'm gonna go for it -- how about you?

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel sauce:

5 tablespoons water
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream

Caramel buttercream:

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dark rum

Brown sugar pecans:

1 cup pecans
6 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 salt

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not over beat.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before filling with caramel.

For the caramel sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.
  3. After approximately 3 minutes you will see a light shade of amber.
  4. Another 30-90 seconds and the mixture will turn a dark shade of amber.
  5. Once the mixture is a dark amber, turn off the heat and add the cream. Whisk to combine, do not worry about the bubbles as they will subside upon cooling. Set aside.

For the caramel buttercream:

  1. Add water and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side.
  2. Increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.
  3. After approximately 3 minutes you will see a light shade of amber.
  4. Another 30-90 seconds and the mixture will turn a dark shade of amber.
  5. Once the mixture is a dark amber, turn off the heat and add the cream and milk. Whisk to combine, do not worry about the bubbles as they will subside. Set aside and let cool.
  6. Whisk egg yolks, 2 remaining tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Slowly add hot caramel while whisking mixture.
  7. Pour combined mixture back into saucepan over medium low heat, stirring continuously until mixture coats the back of the spoon.
  8. Remove from heat. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the stand-mixer bowl. Beat the mixture with the wire whip at medium speed until it is light and cool. Make sure the mixture at this point is completely cool before adding the butter.
  9. Replace wire whip with the paddle attachment. Gradually add 2 tablespoons at a time, beat in the softened butter at medium speed. When all of the butter has been incorporated, beat the buttercream on high until mixture is light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute). Reduce the speed and beat in the vanilla and rum. Increase the speed once again and beat the buttercream for another minute, until it’s light and creamy.

For the pecans:

  1. Line bake sheet with foil.
  2. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat, add brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir for one minute and remove from heat.
  3. Continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves.
  4. Toss pecans in mixture and spread over baking sheet, making sure to break up any clumps that may have formed.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

To assemble cupcakes:

  1. Cut hole in top of cupcake and fill with caramel sauce.
  2. Trim hole cut out into a flat disc and place on top of caramel.
  3. Using a close star tip pipe top of cupcake.
  4. Drizzle chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar pecans on top.

 

Image via DixieBelleCupcakeCafe/Flickr