Once the cupcakes have cooled thoroughly, you can use either a paring knife to cut a small hole into the center of the cupcake or use a Wilton Treat Corer to remove the center. Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooled caramel filling into the hole. It’s important that the caramel and the cake is cooled otherwise the caramel just seeps into the cupcake and once you have finished filling all 24, it will look like you never filled them at all because the cupcake drank up all the caramel sauce! So remember to cool the cupcakes and the caramel sauce.
To make the Dark Chocolate Frosting:
In a microwave safe bowl, melt 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips at 30 second increments until the chocolate chips are thoroughly melted. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mix together until smooth, then set aside:
¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoon hot water
In a 5 quart bowl of your stand mixer, beat together until fluffy:
2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Then add :
Pinch of salt
While the beater is still running, add:
12 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. (If the chocolate hasn’t cooled enough, it will melt the butter and the frosting will not pipe well.) Beat the mixture until thoroughly incorporated. If frosting looks and feels too loose, pop it into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let it firm up before using it. I used Wilton tip #21 to pipe the frosting.
For the fun Topaz sugar decorations:
I cooked together 1 cup of granulated sugar and ¼ cup of water until it turned a light amber color. I let it cool for about 10 to 15 minutes until almost thickened. (Once it thickens, it hardens into candy so you need to watch it…it happens very quickly!) Using two forks, I picked up some of the cooked sugar and, over a silicone mat, I drizzled a large circle onto the mat with the sugar that fell from the tines, making a free form sugar sheet. You can also dip toasted nuts into the sugar and let it hang until the sugar dries.
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