Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco makes these amazing fleur de sel cupcakes. I had to see if I could make a version of them, and I came pretty close. They’re a bit of work, but oh heaven, they are sooooo worth it. Dark chocolate cake, salted caramel center, dark chocolate ganache frosting, fleur de sel sea salt sprinkles. Just the right delicious balance of sweet and salt to make you drool.

Tip: Make the frosting first since it requires time to set. Make the caramel last since it hardens the longer it sits.

Dark-Chocolate Ganache

(from Martha Stewart)

Yield: enough for 32 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat; add 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stir every 15 minutes, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

Dark Chocolate Cake I

(from Carol on Allrecipes.com)

Yield 32 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiling water or 1 cup hot coffee and 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 3 – 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Salted-Caramel Filling

(from Martha Stewart)

Yield: makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, preferably Fleur de Sel

Directions

  • Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium-sized heavy saucepan.  Heat over high heat, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan.  Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed.
  • Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360° F.
  • Remove from heat; slowly pour in cream (be careful, mixture will spatter) and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Stir in sea salt. Use immediately; if at any time caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable.

Assembling Cupcakes

  • Let cupcakes cool.
  • Using a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece from the centre of each cupcake.
  • Spoon warm salted-caramel filling into each hollowed out cupcake.
  • Frost with ganache.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over ganache.
  • Store at room temperature in airtight containers (do not refrigerate) until ready to serve. The caramel hardens in the refrigerator.