A friend requested Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes (like the candy) for his brother's birthday. I have been wanting to make something similar to this for a while. I love the combination of chocolate and caramel but the pecans add that extra layer of crunch to the cupcakes. The caramel pecan mixture alone is worth making, I had some extra which I plan on using on ice cream and pancakes (or eating by the spoonful).
Recipe: Adapted from Annie's Eats
For the Cupcake:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot (almost boiling) water
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon baking Power
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.
In a small saucepan combine butter and sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer butter and sugar mixture to bowl and using an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment) mix for 3-5 minutes until mixture cools and becomes pale yellow in colour.
Add in eggs one at a time, mixing throughly between each addition. Mix in vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture in 2 batches alternating with the sour cream. Beat until just incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3s full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
For the Caramel Filling Filling:
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pecans
Heat sugar in a medium sized heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high heat. When sugar starts melting, stir sugar until it is fully melted. Once melted, swirl sauce pan until sugar turns deep amber in colour (or reaches 350F on a candy thermometer).
Stir in butter. Take caramel mixture off the heat and stir in cream. Mixture will bubble violently.
Finally stir in pecans.
For the Icing:
1 cup butter
3-4 cups icing sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and cream.
Once cupcakes have cooled completely, use the cone method to fill cupcakes with approx 1-2 teaspoons of caramel pecan mixture.
Frost cupcakes as desired. Top with extra pecan mixture and drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauces.