Salted Caramel Cupcakes, but I've found that the Salted Caramel Frosting is also delicious on dark chocolate cupcakes.
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3 T Flour
1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, but I've used non-fat when it’s all I have and it’s actually fine)
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup sugar (that’s granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until it starts to look like pudding. It should still be liquidy, but you should be able to see the bottom of the pan while you stir.
Put the mixture into a strainer and stir it around to push the mixture through and get the lumps out. Let it cool completely to room temp or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely or it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.
In an electric stand mixer, with the whisk attachment (not the paddle) beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes until it's well combined and fluffy. While still beating, add the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can without spraying it all over the place for 7 - 10 minutes. That seems like a long time but that's how long it takes for it to go from looking like a goopy mess, to something smooth and fluffly.
This makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes with a decorater tip or 24 cupcakes if you put it on lightly. I always double the recipe - it's so good, you can pile it on and it doesn't overwhelm the cupcake!
For Salted Caramel Frosting use 1/2 cup (or more) of caramel sauce, or try this Buttermilk Syrup recipe - it's scrumptious! Fold the caramel sauce or buttermilk syrup (room temperature) gently into the frosting; you want ribbons of caramel running through the frosting. Pipe or dollop it onto your cupcakes and drizzle more caramel on top. Sprinkle with a very scant sprinkling of kosher or sea salt.
1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.
2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!
3. Store at room temperature. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.
4. Add extracts to your hearts content; lemon is wonderful! Food coloring is also okay.
5. The white sugar can be exchanged for brown.
6. Do not try to make other substitutions or additions. Sour cream, cream cheese, fruit purees all do disastrous things.