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Salted Caramel & Chocolate Puppy Cupcakes

Meet the newest addition to my family, Little Chef, aptly named right?!  He is a gorgeous apricot male Moodle, born on the 19th of February, 2015. Take home weight was 2.2kg/4.85lbs. He is a sweet pup, super smart too and the lil man has already mastered fetch and carry. He is super cuddly and snuggly, has us smiling and laughing out loud and captivated for hours with his antics. Yep, this perfect little puppy has stolen our hearts!

I was feeling creative in the kitchen and decided I’d bake some cupcakes for my work gang and share my new found puppy love. Here’s how I made these adorable little salted caramel & chocolate cupcakes.

With the cupcakes baking away in the oven, I set to creating the puppies. I whipped up the frosting which was a cross between buttercream and whipped cream. It was sweet with just that perfect hit of salted caramel flavour. Don’t be fazed by the huge amount of frosting this recipe makes, it is perfect for piping the puppy fur as it is semi soft, and much smoother than many buttercreams I’ve worked with in the past.  The puppy, once you put the snout, nose and eyes in place totally looked like a dog. It took me about an hour in total to decorate the batch. The trick was prepping all the elements of the puppy face so you could stick everything down succinctly.

When I served the puppy cupcakes, my colleagues were surprised, everyone ‘oohed and ahhed’ at just how close to our Little Chef the mini cakes looked. They were super easy to do and turned out pretty great. The best thing about making puppy cupcakes is that you can play around, experiment and come up with your own variations on how the face is to look. Not only do these puppy cupcakes guarantee a smile, but they are lip-smacking delicious too.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time:  20 – 25 minutes

  • Large Marshmallow
  • Small Marshmallow
  • Chocolate coated peanut
  • Jersey Caramels
  • Strawberry Clouds

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 18 x 1/3-cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper cases. Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, until just combined. Add the flours and cocoa powder and stir until just combined. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

Step 3: Spoon evenly among the lined muffin pans.

Step 4: Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Step 1: Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Step 2: Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

Step 3: Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.

Step 1: Stick (using a little frosting) a large marshmallow to the cupcake for the snout.

Step 2: Flatten with a rolling pin a pink strawberry cloud, with a little frosting place the tongue just below the snout.

Step 3: Using the grass tip piping nozzle, cover the cupcake to resemble dog fur.

Step 4: Add a choc coated peanut for the nose.

Step 5: Place choc coated peanut on halved small white marshmallow for the eyes.

Step 6: For the ears, roll out halved caramels into a tear drop shape, attach ears either side.

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