|Photo courtesy of Candace via Flickr|
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup hot water
Add sugar in a skillet over medium-low heat. Shake the pan to spread the sugar and let it melt, shaking again to keep the syrup browning evenly. Once it becomes the deep bronze color and begins to smoke, gradually add the hot water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
For the cake:
3 cups unbleached cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup of the burnt sugar syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, salt, soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream butter, adding sugar gradually until light and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at the time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla. Stir in cooled burnt sugar syrup.
Alternately mix the flour and the buttermilk into the batter, beating until smooth.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter.
Fill lined cupcake tins 1/2 way with batter.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely before frosting
For the caramel frosting:
3/4 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
Dash of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Mix butter, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Let bubble for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in cream. Cook and stir for another 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Transfer to another bowl. Beating at high speed, gradually add confectioner's sugar until it comes to a spreading consistency. Add more cream if necessary.
Once cupcakes are frosted you can drizzle caramel over top if desired.