I got my cake on this morning and used a salted caramel sauce I had in the cupboard. I paired it with two different cupcake batches. One made with brown sugar and the other with granulated sugar.
After a bit of taste testing, visualising, and a bit more tasting, myself and my husband have found the following results. With both batches, I split the mix, mixed some directly with caramel, and the other couple of cupcakes just drizzled over the top, or dragged it with a cocktail stick.
I don't know whether when you make your cake batter if it's runny or not? Mine isn't, so the caramel sits better on the mixture. If yours is runny and your sauce is runny, you could pipe the batter into the cupcake cases along with a little caramel in stages to probably give you a better swirl if they are both runny.
White sugar mix:-
In my white sugar mix, I got subtle tones of caramel through the batter but not really prevalent, as I did with the chocolate marble cake. I think because the caramel is a light tone, it blends with the batter. I didn't want to add too much caramel sauce to the batter either, so that may also have been a factor.
With this, there are two options, add two small caramel layers, as in plain batter, then a small blob of caramel swirled with a cocktail stick like below and then another layer of batter and then a top swirl but run the risk of it possibly pooling or if you don't mind adding coffee, add a touch of coffee or chocolate to the mix to give you a more prominent colour. Either way, this should darken the caramel and give you a more visual swirl.
Another thing you could do is poke a few holes in the top of the cupcake when it comes out of the oven and add some caramel. With the cupcake being hot, it will absorb in but may also seep into the cake, possibly giving you a touch of colour. The caramel would have to be hot and runny for this, though.
This was my before and after shot of white sugar - batter vs cake. The top four have caramel mixed into the batter. The bottom two have just batter and a swirl of caramel.
You can see after baking them the middle two are brown, but the bottom two have a dark swirl on the top of each cupcake. This wasn't throughout the cake, although I did get light and dark areas in the cake.
Getting the correct ratio of caramel to cupcake mix seems to be a sticking point.
These were the brown sugar batch:-
The top four again were mixed directly with caramel and the bottom two were one drizzled with caramel and the other slightly mixed with a touch of batter.
For this one, I dragged caramel off the spoon with a cocktail stick to help thin and space it out.
For the other one, I added a touch of batter to the caramel to thin it out slightly.
When the cupcakes baked the bottom two still had the swirl of the caramel on top but you can't see it unless you zoom in.
I think if you drizzle like this on your vanilla mix (if it's thick enough to hold it) you may get the swirl you want.
In terms of flavour, these were amazing! The brown sugar adds hints of caramel undertones then mixed with the caramel just lifted the whole thing.
Findings:White Sugar Batch:
Cupcake 3 - Crunchy top, no pools of caramel on the bottom, not flavoured as much as I'd like. 4th Favourite
Cupcake 5 - More flavour, hints of a swirl throughout the cupcake but not enough. 3rd Favourite
Brown Sugar Batch:
Cupcake 3 - Slightly crunchy, amazing rich caramel flavour throughout, very soft fluffy consistency, a little bit of caramel on the base just to one side. Swirl on top if you zoom in and see the dark line. Hard to see as all the cupcake is a caramel colour. 1st Favourite (If this was done on a lighter mix would probably see it much better).
Cupcake 5 - Tiny pool of caramel, crunchy top, crumb slightly tighter consistency. Caramel shiny on the top would show swirl if cupcake, not a rich caramel colour. 2nd Favourite
Recipe:White Sugar Batch:
Brown Sugar Batch:
- 75 grams Flora Buttery
- 75 grams Granulated Sugar
- 1 and a half Medium Eggs
- 75 grams Self Raise Flour
- Couple of teaspoons of Salted Caramel Sauce (Joe & Seph's)
Each recipe makes 6 cupcakes.
- Same recipe as above, but swap out the granulated sugar for 75 grams of light brown sugar instead.