You know what’s crazy? This week marks the four year anniversary of when I started writing this blog. You know what’s even crazier?! I actually got my act together this year and made something celebratory to share with you for the occasion, unlike in past years, when I tried to pass off things like salad or breakfast tacos as blogiversary-worthy treats.
Okay, okay…to be honest, the stars just sort of aligned this time. And by stars, I mean that the fiancé was visiting for the week, which seemed as good a reason as any to make a cake, especially given that I don’t bake cakes when I’m by myself (I’d need bigger cake pants if I did). But whatever the circumstances, these coffee toffee caramel cupcakes are 1000% appropriate for anything festive you’ve got going on—birthdays, showers, pool parties, you name it!
These cupcakes were inspired by my all-time favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Bonnaroo Buzz, which was discontinued a number of years ago. It offered a tantalizing combination of coffee, toffee, caramel, and whiskey, and after several years of hoping in vain for it to be resurrected from the flavor graveyard, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a Bonnaroo Buzz confection of my own!
Although the original ice cream flavor didn’t have much in the way of chocolate (only what covered the toffee), I used a chocolate cupcake as the base—after all, when is chocolate ever a bad idea?! I also opted to leave out the whiskey component, partly because that was never the standout ingredient in my view, but also because I don’t have whiskey and I’m actively trying to reduce (or at least avoid increasing) the number of items in my pantry/fridge/freezer.
Even if you haven’t spent the past few years mourning ice cream flavor turnover, I think you’ll find that these coffee toffee caramel cupcakes really hit the spot! The chocolate cake is soft and tender with a moist but not overly dense crumb, and the caramel buttercream balances out the cake with an irresistible salty-sweet combination that is enhanced by the toffee pieces sprinkled on top. There’s even a surprise pocket of caramel tucked underneath the frosting!
While I wish that I could thank each and every one of you for being here by giving you a cupcake I baked myself, we’ll have to make do with words for now. Thank you so much for reading along and being a part of Put on Your Cake Pants! I truly appreciate you taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet. As is my blogiversary custom, I’ve compiled a list (included below) of my favorite recipes from this past year, but I’d also love to hear from you! What are your favorite Put on Your Cake Pants recipes—from this past year or any other?
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup caramel sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature (optional, see note)
- 2-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toffee pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cups of a cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In the bowl of a mixer (or a large mixing bowl), stir together the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the beaten egg, milk, and vegetable oil. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the boiling water and stir until the batter reaches an even consistency.
- Portion the batter into the cupcake liners (about 1/4 cup per cupcake). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, cut conical pieces of cake out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Alternatively, you can use a cupcake corer if you have one. Spoon about 1 teaspoon caramel sauce into the center of each cupcake.
- Prepare the buttercream: beat the butter and shortening (if using) in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 cup caramel sauce and beat until smooth. Pipe or spread the buttercream on the cooled cupcakes.
- Sprinkle toffee pieces on top of the cupcakes and drizzle with any remaining caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature.
- If the presentation of the cupcakes is a priority for you and you want to be able to pipe the frosting on top (as pictured), you will need to include the shortening and the full 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (the shortening and added sugar are what enable the frosting to hold its shape). If you prefer to simply spread the frosting, you may omit the shortening and use 2 cups powdered sugar (you will likely have extra frosting if you choose this method).
- I use homemade caramel sauce (following this recipe, but with unsalted butter and only 3/4 teaspoon salt), but feel free to substitute store-bought caramel sauce.
- Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Desserts for Breakfast.