Wasabi and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

Yes, you read it correctly – “wasabi” in a cupcake!  Why not? You find all sorts of interesting ingredients in truffles lately so wasabi in a cupcake isn’t too weird, right?  Anyway, this recipe also came from “Saved by Cake” by Marian Keyes.

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Makes: 12

Cupcakes:

3-1/2 ounces white chocolate

7 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon wasabi paste

Salted Caramel Topping:

7 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup golden syrup (or substitute with dark corn syrup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

** Even though substitution for golden syrup is mentioned here, I highly recommend for you to get golden syrup (most larger supermarkets or specialty stores have golden syrup). 

Line a cupcake pan for 12 cupcakes and preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the chocolate using your favorite method (I used microwave to gradually melt the chocolate), remembering that this is white chocolate and is easy to burn.  Add the butter to the chocolate and stir until everything is melted and combined.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.  The mixture might look a little strange and “congealy.” Don’t worry, let it all cool for about 10 minutes, ten add the vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer for a full 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time; sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold through.  Finally, add the wasabi paste and make sure it’s distributed evenly.  Divide the mixture among the cupcake liners.  Bake for 22 minutes; cool the tray on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the salted caramel topping by putting the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, vanilla, and salt into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt over a gentle heat.  When the butter and sugar have melted, raise the heat.  Whisk like mad until the mixture starts bubbling, but don’t let it boil.  Keep it at that bubbling point for about 5-8 minutes and it should thicken a little.

When you’re satisfied with its consistency, let it cool a little before icing the cupcakes – if it’s too hot, it’s liable to run down the sides.  However, if it cools down too much, it won’t spread easily enough.  So feel free to reheat it a bit if it’s gotten too stubborn and resistant, or let it cool down if it’s gone a little free-spirited with itself.  Finish by sprinkling the top with a few grains of sea salt.

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You can get wasabi paste at any Asian markets.

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We love golden syrup! Great for baking, but also delicious on toasts!

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If you don’t feel like making caramel topping, you can just use a good quality caramel sauce.  We love this caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s (just briefly microwave until the sauce is spreadable).

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My opinion:  Another Marian Keyes recipe for adults!!  Both of my children weren’t too thrilled with these cupcakes; one showed outright distaste claiming she can taste the wasabi, and another was impartial to it but preferred not eating it.  However, once again the adults LOVED it!  I loved the fluffy and dense cake, the subtle wasabi flavor which gave a deeper taste to the cake combined with the salted caramel sauce made this a pure winner!  I really think the combination of wasabi and white chocolate were wonderful!

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