And once you will have tasted one, you will agree with me that they actually taste like a pretty fine piece of caramel - not bad for a cheap candy... Their buttery vanilla-cocoa aroma surges over a wave of deep, blond caramel. Gastronomic? Maybe not, but delish, certainly. Everytime it's a trip down memory lane, and that surely does make them taste ever so slightly better...
|Carambar, 20 of them, melted in milk and butter - the base for the cake batter.|
A few months ago, a friend mentioned to me the recipe of a carambar cake, which obviously got my full attention. He was kind enough to source the recipe for me, and I had been itching to try it. One teeny tiny hiccup: carambar are impossible to find outside of France it seems, and I had to bribe another friend with the promise of a cake for him to buy me a few packs during a trip to Paris. These minor technical difficulties resolved, I had to find a suitable topping for my cuppies, and adapted the frosting below from Annie's excellent blog. The texture of the cake came out as a pleasant surprise, as it was a lot lighter than the use of commercially made sweets would have left to expect.
A big thank you to Jamel and his friend Amelie for sharing the cupcake recipe, to Nicolas for buying me a truckload of carambar, and to Peech for smuggling in the rum.
|Carambar cupcakes, cooling down on a rack|
|Butterscotch frosting, stage 1 - making a deep, creamy brown caramel...|
|Butterscotch frosting, stage 2 - cooling down the caramel before adding the butter.|
|Caramel cupcakes with butterscotch frosting - ready to be devoured... these are actually quite sweet and buttery, so I would recommend an espresso or black tea on the side to cut down the sweetness and clean the palate.|
|Rhum Negrita - the perfect aroma for everything from chocolate truffles to crepes and cakes.|
Caramel cupcakes with butterscotch frosting (for approx. 18 cupcakes or 1 8-inch rectangular cake)
160gr caster sugar
150gr cake flour (not the self-rising type), sifted
1.5 tsp baking powder
20 Carambar (or about 160gr home-made butter caramel fudge)
1 tbsp dark aged rum
pinch of salt
225gr unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut in 2cm cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbsp black treacle
¾ cup mascarpone
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp dark aged rum
1 to 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
· Preheat the oven at 180°C.
· Generously brush a rectangular 8-inch cake pan with melted butter and place in the fridge – or line 3 6x2 muffin trays with paper cups;
· In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder;
· In a saucepan over low heat, melt the Carambar in the milk and butter, stirring constantly. Add the rum;
· Remove from the heat, and keep stirring until the mixture becomes lukewarm;
· Add to the flour/mixture in thirds, alternating with the eggs (start with 1 egg);
· Bake 30 to 40mn (cake) or 17 to 20mn (cupcakes).
· Make the frosting: melt about 50gr of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it turns deep golden brown and fragrant, about 6-9 minutes.
· Add the sugar, mascarpone, black treacle and salt, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
· Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling, stirring constantly, for 5 more minutes.
· Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture becomes lukewarm.
· Add the rum.
· With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining butter a couple of cubes at a time, until each addition has been incorporated. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.
· Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar.
· Cover the bowl and reserve in the fridge for about 30 to 45mn, or until the frosting reaches piping consistency.