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I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. While I like coffee-flavored things, I don’t actually like to drink coffee. Some people like that black, unsweetened concoction to just punch them in the face with caffeine. I, on the other hand, prefer to add enough sweeteners and flavorings that I almost forget that I am drinking coffee. My favorite “coffee additive” is caramel, because caramel is awesome. So, it’s no wonder that caramel macchiatos are my favorite coffee beverage. This cupcake is an homage to this beverage. As an added bonus, the presentation of these caramel macciato cupcakes makes so you can fool people into thinking that they’re actual drinks. Pretty neat for an April Fool’s Day post, no?
A caramel macchiato at Starbucks actually consists of several components. The beverage uses vanilla flavored syrup, espresso, steamed milk, and caramel sauce. So, the challenge was to make sure that each component was represented somehow in the cupcake. I scored a giant jug of the caramel sauce that they use at Starbucks, and decided to pair it with a coffee cupcake and vanilla whipped cream. Viola, cupcake! To add to the effect, I took a cue from some photos floating around the web and served them in mini Starbucks cups.
Start by baking your cupcakes. Allow them to cool completely, then remove them from the wrappers. I guess you could also bake them without the wrappers, but I think it’s easier this way.
If you ask the right Starbucks employee nicely enough, they’ll give you some of their sample cups (I told them that I needed them for a project, which technically wasn’t a lie). These are the cups that they use when giving out samples at events and such. Pump some of the caramel into the bottom of each cup and then push one cupcake into the cup until it’s no longer sticking out of the cup. Initially, I tried making a well in each cupcake and filling the center, but the caramel is too thin. The cupcake just absorbed it. Pipe a swirl of whipped cream on top of each cupcake, then push a piece of straw into the cream at a slight angle. I cut each Starbucks green straw into 4 equal pieces, and they were the perfect size.
Right before serving, drizzle the cupcakes with more of the caramel sauce. At first glance, you can’t even tell that they’re cupcakes! Aren’t they cute? They always make an impression whenever I make them. Enjoy!
Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes
For the cupcakes (adapted from this recipe)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup of strong coffee
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- a double batch of Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1-2 cups caramel sauce (recommended: Fontana Caramel Sauce, or make your own)
- 24 Starbucks sample cups
- 6 Starbucks green straws, cut into 4 pieces each
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line 2 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray
Sift all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk all of your wet ingredients together. With the stand mixer on low, gradually add the wet mixture to the dry mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupake pan cavities. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.
To assemble: Remove liners from cupcakes. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of caramel sauce at the bottom of Starbucks paper sample cups. Gentle push one cupcake into each cup (they will fit snugly). Top with whipped cream and a piece of straw. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve, and then top with additional drizzle of caramel sauce, if desired.