Kara’s Cupcakes Chocolate Cupcakes with Candied Walnut Cream Cheese

Kara’s Cupcakes Chocolate Cupcakes with Candied Walnut Cream Cheese
On the West Coast you will find the famous Kara’s Cupcakes bakery. This bakery has been named one of the best cupcake bakeries in America, as in the U.S. News & World Report list. Owner Karen Lind was kind enough to share this recipe with us so that we can all enjoy her West Coast cupcakes no matter where we live.

• 8 ounces butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups cake flour
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 6 ounces chocolate, melted in a bowl set over a saucepan filled with water on medium-heat
Frosting and walnuts
• 8 ounces unsalted butter
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 1 pound powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup walnuts, toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line standard muffin tin with paper liners.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, then beat in the salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in batches, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until everything is completely incorporated. Finally, mix in the chocolate.

Pour batter into the paper-lined muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the candied walnuts, heat the sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2- or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want from this point on. Let the sugar caramelize in the pan until it takes on a deep amber color. Add the walnuts to the sugar, stir to coat, and then pour out into a single layer on a Silpat or parchment paper. Let cool completely, then crush in a food processor. Set aside until ready to use.

To assemble, spread the cream cheese frosting over each cupcake and roll the cupcake tops in the candied walnut mixture to coat.