Mystery Box Challenge – Pirate’s Booty Cupcakes
It’s kind of funny that the two ‘secret ingredient’ style contests this month were raspberry (Cupcake Hero) and white chocolate (Mystery Box), considering we posted White Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes about a month ago. For the Mystery Box Challenge, we wanted to do something different, something a little more fun – an actual challenge. And a challenge is exactly what we got! I dunno if we were having an off day or what, but there were a couple disasters that nearly killed these cupcakes. Luckily, we rebounded and the final result was AWESOME. We got rave reviews on these from our tasters who said they were uniquely delicious. So we’re quite happy to present the Pirate’s Booty cupcake: white chocolate chip cake and salted caramel buttercream frosting with a pretzel crust buried underneath.
We added these to a basic white cake batter:
But before we could pour the batter into the cups, we needed to make the “buried treasure” part of our cupcakes. We started by smashing up some pretzels and combining them with melted butter and sugar:
We pressed a little bit of this mixture into each cupcake wrapper, then topped it with even more white chocolate chips.
We baked these for five minutes, expecting the chips to melt. Disaster #1… they didn’t. They got kind of brown on the outside instead. Still very delicious… just totally weird. After the crusts cooled a bit, we added the cake mix:
About 20 minutes later, these guys came out of the oven looking gorgeous:
Next up, the frosting. We chose a recipe off of bakeanddestroy.com because other recipes of theirs had worked out really well for us in the past. If you’re not familiar with them, I highly recommend checking out the site. The first part of their Salted Caramel Buttercream calls for sugar and water to be boiled until dark amber:
After it’s reached the right color, we took it off the heat and added cream and vanilla. This came together as a caramel sauce:
Disaster #2…. It tasted disgusting. I don’t know if we screwed up the recipe or what, but it was make-a-face bad. We thought maybe it would taste better once we added butter and sugar. We whipped it all up and it sure looked pretty:
Distaster #3… It still tasted disgusting. We tried doctoring it up, but nothing took the bitterness out of it. So, we did the only thing we could do and tossed it. I hate to throw food away, but I couldn’t have asked people to eat the first batch knowing how much I hated it. We made the second batch from scratch, using a caramel recipe that Lisa conveniently keeps in her brain. We boiled sugar with butter and cream:
Then we whipped it for about a half an hour. I’m not exaggerating there – it was exhausting! We knew we were done when it turned a lovely caramel color and reached a saucy consistency.
We threw this in the mixer with butter, powdered sugar, and salt. After beating, it was still very soupy. Many of the recipes we read said to pop the frosting in the fridge and then rewhip after 45 minutes. Did we mention we were on a time crunch? Disaster #4! Here we are waiting around:
After waiting and whipping, the frosting really did have a nice texture. Very fluffy:
We decided to try out one of our new star tips for this one. Turns out using a larger tip on these, which added more frosting, was a great idea because it was so light and airy:
Ready for disaster #5? The frosting recipe didn’t make enough for 24 cupcakes. It was really close, but by the end, they were looking REALLY messy. We decorated with gold sugar, which helped off set some of the uglier cupcakes:
Then we added a white chocolate skull that we made with a mold:
We were really happy with how they managed to turn out, despite our set backs. They tasted even better than expected! Some of our tasters said:
“The sweet and the salty worked very well together. I’ve never had a cupcake that mixed the two like that and it worked very well. The pretzels were good-sized. Overall, it was a bit crumbly, but the flavor and texture worked.“
“Frosting – light, fluffy, almost ethereal – like eating a cloud – with a carmel finish – very nice change from typical cupcake frostings.”
“To only have half is torture.” (Sorry, Sabrina – I didn’t know how popular these would be!)
Like I said way back there at the top, these were made for the Mystery Box Challenge. Information about the contest is located here. The winner of August’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:
- Bake It Pretty; $5 electronic gift card
- Beanilla; 3 Indian + 3 Tahitian vanilla beans & a jar of Ground Vanilla
- CT2Designs; a cupcake ring
- Miss Kitty Creations; a cupcake charm of your choice
- Sweet Cuppin Cakes; a prize pack worth $25
Thank you to all our prize sponsors!