05 December 2011

Oatmeal Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Cupcakes. Cake. Brownies. Cookies. I love them all.

Sadly, I don't usually let myself bake too much in order to avoid the inevitable devouring of pounds of my own culinary creations. But it's December (can you believe it??), which means that I have event after event for which I finally have an excuse to bake. I decided to start this holiday season off with cozy oatmeal cupcakes that have neither nuts nor chocolate (I have picky relatives), topped with my mom's favorite caramel frosting.

The cupcake recipe is from  the Southern Cakes cookbook, which I recommend you buy ASAP. The cake is buttery and decadent, and the oatmeal makes it incredibly moist. The caramel frosting is a staple that my mom has made for the last couple of years (I'm not sure where the recipe is from - as far as I know, it comes from the card in my mom's recipe box). Just a warning, though: this frosting is very sweet. I use only a thin coat on the cupcakes so that it doesn't overwhelm the cake (half a batch of icing was plenty). However, if you have a big sweet tooth, pile it on!

Cupcake Ingredients
1 cup old fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup butter, cut into 6 chunks
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the oatmeal, butter and boiling water in a medium bowl, and stir to mix them together. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to cool.
In a different bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir to mix well.
In a third (and final) bowl, combine both kinds of sugar with the eggs and vanilla, and beat with mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes, until thick and light colored. (be sure to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally). Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture in two batches, beating just long enough each time to make the flour disappear. Mix in the oatmeal, stirring and folding to combine everthing in a nubby but will-mixed batter.
Pour batter into greased cupcake pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 lb. confectioners sugar

Combine butter with brown sugar and milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and let boil two minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, pour into bowl, and set over a bowl of ice. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in vanilla. With an electric mixer at low sped, gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

24 cupcakes

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