I admit, the thought of putting white chocolate in the oven to roast sounds insane. But it’s an insane stroke of genius because it completely transforms white chocolate into something wonderful.
Gone is the cloying sweetness usually associated with white chocolate, and in it’s place is the most delicious caramel flavour. Think buttery dulce de leche. And if you think you don’t like white chocolate, as I did, this stuff will change your mind.
The key is to use good quality white chocolate made with cocoa butter, not vegetable fat. Read the ingredients in your white chocolate to see which it uses. The higher the cocoa butter percentage the better as you will have a smoother result. I used Cadbury’s White Chocolate Melts which contains 29% cocoa butter.
When roasting the chocolate make sure to stir it frequently. The chocolate will go through several stages – melted, firm, and a deeply golden oozy caramel. If the chocolate looks like it’s seizing up, don’t fret. Give the mixture a stir and it will be ok. Be patient and you will be rewarded. Just try not to eat it all while it’s cooling!
For the frosting I went with a roasted strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream. The roasted strawberry frosting works beautifully with the caramelised white chocolate, and the result, according to my husband at least, is that these Caramelised White Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made.
So tell me, have you ever tried caramelised white chocolate?
- 200g (7 oz) white chocolate
- 80g (5 ½ tbs) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 120g (⅔ cups) brown sugar
- 90g (2/3 cups) plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM:
- 200g (7 oz) strawberries, hulled
- 2 tsp sugar
- 180g (¾ cup plus 1 tbs) caster sugar
- 2 tsp of golden syrup
- 60ml (¼ cup) water
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 200g (7 oz) of unsalted butter, at room temperature, and cut into cubes
- Begin by roasting the chocolate. Preheat the oven to 120 celsius (250 Fahrenheit) and add the chocolate into a small baking dish and place in the oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until a deep caramel colour. While the chocolate is roasting place strawberries in a small baking dish and toss with the 2 tsp sugar. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the strawberries have collapsed and are surrounded by a puddle of their delicious red juice. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (340 Fahrenheit).
- Place the cooled but still melted white chocolate in a bowl and add the melted butter and stir until smooth and combined.
- In a the bowl of an electric mixer whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chocolate and butter mixture and whisk until well combined. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl and add one third of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined. Follow with half the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add another third of the flour mixture, mixing until combined, before adding the remaining buttermilk and flour. When the mixture is thoroughly combined fill a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners and divide the mixture between the cupcake liners. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes of until the cupcakes spring back when pressed. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- To make the Italian buttercream place the sugar, golden syrup and water in a saucepan and mix until well combined. Use a pastry brush to dislodge any stray grains of sugar before placing over a high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and add a sugar thermometer. Cook until the mixture reaches 120 celsius (248 Fahrenheit) and remove from the heat. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to soft peaks. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl, being careful not to touch the whisk, and continue whisking until the mixture cools, around 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, one third at a time, and whip until fully incorporated. Switch the mixer to high and whip until fluffy. If the mixture turns soupy and runny and doesn't become thicker simply refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour and whisk again.
- Puree the roasted strawberries in a food processor and add to the frosting and whip until combined. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle with the Italian meringue buttercream and pipe onto the top of each cupcake in whatever pattern you desire.