After making the salted caramel sauce, I found this yummy looking recipe for Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream. I made the cupcakes from this recipe, but since I happened to have some salted caramel sauce on hand already, I decided to slightly alter the buttercream recipe to use my salted caramel sauce.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
Adapted from Baked Perfection
1/2 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Salted Caramel Sauce + some for drizzling over cupcakes
Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
After the cupcakes cool, simply pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and drizzle some salted caramel sauce over the top.....for a creamy, salted caramel bit of heaven!
I did happen to notice that not all baking cups are created equal. The cheaper ones are not grease-proof and don't look so pretty after baking. I will definitely need to invest in some higher quality, grease-proof baking liners in the future.