It’s been five months since I moved to Switzerland. I can hardly believe we’ve almost been here for half a year. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that it has been on the whole a pretty amazing experience – full of new adventures as I try to navigate raising a toddler in a new country where my grasp of the language is tenuous. It’s been fun. Occasionally lonely, as the odd pang of homesickness strikes, and quiet, as we’ve taken this time to settle in to our new life.
Well, all of that is about to change. The lonely quiet part, not the amazing adventures part. We’re about to have guests by the boatload coming over. I really appreciate my family and friends giving us some time to acclimatize to our life over here before coming to visit. I don’t think it was planned this way, but rather hilariously it has been unanimously decided that our alone time is OVER. Everyone is coming over the next two months. And we’re jamming in a trip back to Canada in there as well. It’s going to be very busy. And I couldn’t be more happy about it.
I’m spending some time getting ready for visitors in the kitchen, of course, preparing all kinds of treats to enjoy while I hopefully can sit back and enjoy my time because the cooking has already been done. But sometimes you make something just too good to not enjoy immediately, as well. That is what happened with these incredible salted caramel cupcakes. They were work-intensive, but ohmygod so delicious. The icing is the best. It’s a Swiss meringue salted caramel buttercream, using whipped egg whites and a crapload of butter to come up with the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It doesn’t hurt that the first thing I needed to do for the icing was make my own homemade caramel sauce. Btw, now that I can make caramel sauce, expect it in EVERYTHING.
Yum, homemade caramel sauce. I found this recipe on Sugar and Snapshots blog – more amazing recipes over there. I adapted the recipe for what I could find in the Genevois grocery store. I didn’t find any Heath bars (in fact, I have no idea what they are), so instead I used some soft caramels crumbled on top. I love the basic chocolate cupcake recipe of this as well – delicious and moist, and so easy to whip up.
7 oz butter, softened
7 oz sugar
5 oz flour
3 oz cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c sour cream
Prepare a cupcake tin with paper liners and set oven to 180C. Weigh out the butter and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and set to whisk until pale and fluffy. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Add two eggs and half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until combined about 30 seconds, scrape down the sides add in two eggs and remaining dry ingredients. Combine for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides. Add in the sour cream and mix for 30 seconds until well combined. Divide the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before decorating.
4 oz Heavy Cream
4 oz Dark Chocolate (60%)
Soft caramels, crumbled
Add the chocolate to a cereal size bowl. Bring the heavy cream up to a simmer via microwave or stove top. Pour over the chocolate let it set for one minute and stir until combined. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the warm ganache and lightly add the crumbled caramel to the cupcakes. Set aside to set and prepare the buttercream.
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
5 oz sugar
16 oz unsalted butter
1/2-2/3 c Caramel Sauce
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Prepare a medium sauce pan with 1″ of water and set to a low simmer. In a 2 quart bowl add in the egg whites and sugar. Whisk until well combined and slightly foamy. Place over the simmering water continue to whisk until you can no longer feel the sugar in the mixture. It should just feel smooth and glossy. Transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on high speed until cool, about 7-10 minutes. Once the egg whites are cool with the mixer still on high begin adding in the butter 4 tbsp at a time. Once all the butter is in the mixture will look split and curdled. Keep whisking and it will come together and look like a frosting. Add in the caramel and salt, whisk until completely combined. Add more caramel to taste. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Pipe or scoop the frosting onto each cupcake.
1/2 c Water
2/3 c Heavy Cream, warmed
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter, cold
In a small 2 qt sauce pan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once the bubbles start to slow down carefully watch it, and once it turns to a deep golden amber in color remove from heat and slowly whisk in the warm heavy cream. It will bubble up so be careful but keep whisking. Once the mixture has calmed down whisk in the butter, then pour into a jar for future use.