This is a two-part recipe. This week we will cover the cupcake and filling, next week Swiss Meringue Buttercream!

I have been involved in the food industry for more years than I care to admit. I owned my own catering business, have taken and taught cooking lessons, and have won a few cooking contests. So, I have favorite recipes, recipes that have many incarnations, the tried and true, and the truly creative great new ideas. Some of the great new ideas happen while cooking with kids. Kids are unabashed and often willing to try more than you think they will. They have a love for experimentation and aren’t afraid of failure. It was while cooking with kids that we came up with today’s recipe technique.

One of our longtime cookie favorites is called the Rolo cookie. It is basically a chocolate shortbread cookie baked with a piece of Rolo candy in the center. (This is another variation that can be used with our Chocolate Shortbread Hearts recipe.) Riffing on that recipe while baking cupcakes with kids, we came up with today’s recipe: Buried Treasure Chocolate Cupcakes.

First, we were looking for a chocolate cupcake recipe that was tender, so that meant we’d include a good amount of butter. I had a large box of Snobinette’s, a dark chocolate 1-inch cup, (can be ordered from Amazon) left over from a party. Thinking of the Rolo cookie with its caramelly center, we took one of the cups and placed it into the center of the cupcake. Then we took a jar of our favorite caramel sauce and spooned some into the chocolate cup. We used the Swiss Meringue method of making a chocolate buttercream frosting and piped it on with a piping bag and large star tip, being careful to cover the surprise center. The kids thought of the caramel popcorn topper, which we loved, as it gave a nod to the surprise caramel center of our cupcake.

After the cupcakes were completed, we took the leftover frosting and piped it into some extra chocolate cups, topped it with a fresh raspberry and Voila! Another easy treat!

Because this is an involved recipe we tried to make the first half as easy as possible. Pick your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and bake a couple of dozen cupcakes – ours happens to be Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Chocolate Buttercream Cake Recipe.

Kid-friendly, no mess method for filling cupcake liners using a ziploc bag with the tip cut off. 

“Snobinette’s” or dark chocolate 1-inch cups. Pick them up in small quantities
from your local bakery supply store or
order in bulk on Amazon. You could also use cordial cups too.

Pressing chocolate cups into baked and completely cooled cupcakes.

Adding caramel sauce to chocolate cups. We like a good butterscotch sauce from the dessert aisle at the grocery store. If you are extra ambitious then you can make your own caramel!

Once you have gotten thus far in the process it is wise to refrigerate the cupcakes or let them cool for awhile – especially if you have used warm caramel – so that they can set up and be ready to frost. Next week, Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting!