Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Macarons

IMG_20170704_130933_124.jpgMonday I wrote about making cupcakes for my cousin’s wedding this upcoming weekend. Last week I made some samples for the 4th. I was a little bit nervous and super excited. Nervous because I’ve never made a cake or cupcakes for a wedding (actually the only things I’ve made for a wedding, were the 9 cheesecakes I made for our wedding reception). Excited to make something for a wedding. nervous because I kept repeating to myself to be delicate and patient while making them. Delicate, graceful. These are not often words I associate with myself. In the kitchen I would describe myself as a beast. I work quickly and efficiently, usually because I have to crank out a bunch of work in not a lot of time. I flow from one thing to the next. So I kept the word delicate in mind. And tomorrow when I make these again I will repeatedly keep telling myself to slow down and take my time.

I wasn’t sure what kind of cupcakes I wanted to make for the wedding. Chocolate was a guarantee, they’re my grandpa’s favorite and they are serving regular chocolate cupcakes at the reception. They’re also serving vanilla and red velvet. My initial idea was to do vanilla but a cupcake with a twist. I just don’t understand the rave for red velvet, it’s chocolate cake with a bunch of food coloring, or at least that’s my perception. And to make one’s that I was satisfied I would have to use beet juice, since I don’t use food coloring, so I vetoed the gluten-free red velvet (sorry).

I searched and searched my Pinterest for some flavor inspiration. I finally settled on salted caramel. I personally love caramel. I love it in my ice cream. I enjoy putting it on or in my pies. I like it in cookies. The list of what I’ll do with caramel is lengthy.

Initially it was a no-brainer to fill the cupcakes with caramel and drizzle some over the icing. It then popped into my mind to make little caramel filled macaron’s for the top. It wasn’t special enough, so I gave myself a big task. Macaron’s are pretty tricky and technical to make. I made them at a bake house I worked at in Champaign. And I was going to make them at home with out molds for them, just free piping them on parchment. They turned out delicious and the groom told me they were the best thing. I mean all the flavor and texture were there, but I felt I maybe over-beat the meringue, as I did not obtain the desired feet. I took note on this and will change it tomorrow.  I am determined to make beautiful little macaron’s.

Again these aren’t Paleo because I am feeding a larger more general audience, I used organic powdered sugar for the macaron’s and the frosting, fill free to change the frosting. I have yet to make a French macaron without the powdered sugar  that I was completely happy with (I’ll put it on my list, I’ve tried with maple sugar and they were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, just not technically sound).

These were all gone first and relatively fast once I showed up, so I actually cut the vanilla cupcakes and decided to focus on the Salted Caramel and chocolate. The base is just a vanilla cake though, so you can just forget the caramel and cookies and make plain vanilla cupcakes. Or try another flavored frosting. I really wanted to do a vanilla cupcake filled with lemon curd, topped with blueberry frosting. I didn’t think this would fit everyone’s taste buds, and the other options would be more of a crowd pleaser.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Macarons

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup butter (I would try these again with Spectrum shortening)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (I was thinking this would be awesome with macadamia nut oil)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Buttercream: 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut milk

Macarons:

  • 110 grams almond flour
  • 200 grams organic powdered sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites (aged 12-24 hours before hand)
  • 50 gram maple sugar

Also: batch of Paleo Salted Caramel & melted Enjoy Life Chocolate

Let’s Make it Happen:

Start with the macarons. I cracked and measured my egg whites the night before I made them. Measure the almond flour and powdered sugar together. Pulse in a food processor. Sieve to get any larger chunks out. Make sure your mixture and clean and dry. Place the egg whites in it. Whip with a whisk attachment. Once it starts to get frothy, gradually start to sprinkle the maple sugar in. Beat until peaks form. You don’t want them under mixed, but also not over-mixed. Stop once you first reach stiff peaks. Fold the almond flour/powdered sugar in. DO NOT overmix. Once it is combined, place in a piping bag with a large round tip (it should fill two piping bags). Pipe onto a piece of parchment. Squeeze out a circle and then swirled the tip to leave a flat top (hopefully). Leave space between each one. Allow them to dry for 20 + minutes, the time will depend on the humidity. To tell they’re done, tap on the top, they should be dry and no longer ‘wet’ to the touch. Bake them at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow them to cool completely. Then take the caramel and fill each one. I took an angled spatula and placed about a tsp in the center of each one. Place another cookie on the top to make a little sandwich. Freeze. Once they have set, melt chocolate and pipe swirling patterns on top. Freeze more until you are ready with the cupcakes.

For the cupcakes beat the butter and maple sugar until they are whipped and lighter in color. Add the eggs, olive oil and coconut milk. In a bowl shift the almond flour and tapioca flour. Add the baking powder. Gradually add this to the mixer. Beat until just combined. Scoop into cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 fill. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. Either use a tool or I used a spoon to scoop out some of the center. Place 1 to 2 tsp of caramel in the center.

For the frosting beat the butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. Add coconut milk according to texture. If it is too stiff, add more. If it is too wet, add more powdered sugar. Pipe on the top according to your liking. When I make these tomorrow, I am going to start in the center and pipe out to make a rose looking top. Drizzle caramel on the top. Place a macaron on the top. Eat and enjoy! I was told these are really delicious, so I hope you love them too.

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