Salted Caramel Banana Chia Seed Cupcakes with Caramel Centres

Tadah! I've been wanting to bake salted caramel cupcakes ever since my bro's friend's friend baked the most awesome batch of those. So, I tried my hand at them but I made a few variations from traditional recipes. My recipe doesn't have eggs and I added Chia seeds to make it a little less guilty (anti-oxidents and fibre!). Recipe below makes about 15 standard sized cupcakes. Pretzel decoration is optional.

For the cupcakes:
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 220g, plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 mashed up banana (substitute for 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 120ml, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds

For the salted caramel filling:
  • 100g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
  • 60ml, plus 1 tablespoon double cream, at room temperature
For the salted caramel buttercream icing:
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 115g salted butter
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 160g icing sugar
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add the mashed up banana slowly, beating until all is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups , filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For the salted caramel filling:
Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. It is very important to start the whisking, otherwise you will get sugar lumps. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside.

For the salted caramel buttercream icing:
In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.

Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens, refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting. Add pretzel to decorate.

4 people said that the caramel centre made it too sweet, the 10 others didn't care and just scoffed it all down. My next inspiration? Maccha cupcakes with Azuki bean frosting. Sounds good?