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Friday, 25 June 2021

Easy Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

A caramel cupcake with a core of gooey caramel sauce, a swirl of Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with caramel coated popcorn. 


These fun, sweet and tasty cupcakes are the perfect cupcake loaded with ooey-gooey caramel. It all starts with a light and fluffy vegan caramel cupcake, with the most divine whip of salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with homemade caramel popcorn and you guessed it, MORE caramel!
If you are popcorn addicted like me, then you'll love this recipe. It combines a light sponge with a creamy Swiss buttercream and crunchy popcorn. I like to use salted popcorn as it creates a salted caramel flavour these cupcakes.

If you have the time, why not pop your own homemade popcorn, but if you're anything like me and love the fast, quick and lazy option, just use store bought- haha! My favourite popcorn is ProperCorn Classic salty popcorn. 

To make these cupcakes BURST with caramel, I used my homemade, 3 ingredient caramel sauce ( 4 ingredient if you add in the salt).

What you'll need:
  • Caster sugar
  • Dairy-free cream( coconut cream, dairy-free single / double cream works great)
  • Dairy-free milk (any dairy-free milk works for this)
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional)
Vegan caramel is extremely easy to make. You'll want to melt the sugar in a saucepan, add in the butter and cream, stir and chill. It turns super thick and glossy once chilled as is great for filling and topping these cakes! 
Looking for more caramel recipes? Look no further:

Notes*
What dairy-free cream should I use?
For this caramel sauce, any dairy-free cream works perfectly. Coconut cream, dairy-free single or double cream

What is Aquafaba: Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas. The Chickpea water or brine as it's called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and this delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Serves: Approx 9
Baking time: 18 minutes
Level: Easy

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Ingredients for the caramel sauce
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 100g of dairy-free block butter (I use Flora Plant Plant Block Butter)
  • 125ml of dairy-free cream (see notes*)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Ingredients for the cupcakes
  • 240ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 210g of self-raising flour
  • 80g of caster sugar
  • 20g of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g of vegetable oil / coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce

Ingredients for the buttercream
  • 180g of dairy-free block butter
  • 80ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine) see notes*
  • 130g of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce (recipe below)
+
  • 15g of salted / unsalted popcorn
  • Pinch of sea salt
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Method (caramel sauce)
1. Place the sugar into a large pan over low/medium heat. Don't stir the sugar but tilt the pan around / keep the pan moving to prevent burning until the sugar begins to dissolve and turn into a golden-like syrup, then turn off the heat.
This will take around 10-15 minutes.
When it's golden and liquid, remove from the heat, add in the dairy-free butter, cream and salt, stir vigorously. It will steam and bubble but keep stirring. Be very careful! 

2. Place the pan back onto a low/medium heat bring it back to the boil. It will begin to bubble, just keep stirring. Stir for around 1-2 minutes.

3. Turn the heat off and pour into a heatproof bowl and pop into the fridge. Chill overnight for best results. 

Method (cupcakes)
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Mix well to combine.

4. Add the oil to the 'buttermilk' and whisk to combine. 

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.

6. Drizzle 1 heaped tablespoon of caramel sauce over the batter and lightly swirl in to give a rippled effect.

7.  Fill the cases 3/4 full with the batter.
Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.

8. Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.

9. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before frosting.

Method (buttercream)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

2. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Add in the icing sugar. Don't over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it's thick and creamy. 
Your Swiss meringue buttercream should be thick, very creamy and silky smooth. If it feels too heavy, add chunks more butter / splashes of aquafaba until its very light.

3. Drizzle in the caramel sauce and whip slightly to create a rippled effect.

4. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with an open star tip nozzle. I use a Wilton 2D piping tip.

5. Core the cupcakes with an apple corer and fill with some of the caramel sauce.

6. Pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cupcake. 

7. Add the popcorn into a bowl and drizzle over some caramel sauce, enough to coat eat kernel. Stir together.

8. Place some caramel popcorn ontop of each cupcake. Drizzle each cake with some more caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt (optional). 

To store:
Serve these cupcakes fresh or store in a sealed container in or out of the fridge, the buttercream will firm up at room temperature. 
Best eaten within a few days. 




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