Recipe: Twix cupcake

Yields 2 dozen cupcakes

At Bel Air's Flavor Cupcakery, Shelley Stannard plays on Twix Bars' popular combination of chocolate, crunch and caramel. She fills chocolate cupcakes with a rich caramel filling then tops them with caramel frosting and a sweet crust of Nilla wafers, with a bona fide Twix bar on top as a garnish.

Stannard recommends using your favorite chocolate cake recipe or boxed mix for the cupcakes themselves. The crust, caramel filling and caramel topping jazz up any simple cake. She also notes that high-quality jarred caramel makes a decent substitute for homemade.

2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar

To prepare, mix all ingredients.

Caramel filling
1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Place sugar and 1 Tablespoon water in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring the water in the sugar to make it moist.
2. Cook the sugar until it reads 350 degrees on a candy thermometer and is a golden brown color.
3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and cream.
4. Stir until smooth and creamy.
5. Let cool.

Caramel frosting
1 cup butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons milk
4 Tablespoons caramel (see above recipe)

1. Using a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter.
2. Add the sugar and mix until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and milk.
4. Slowly beat the butter and sugar mix into the liquids.
5. Cream all together for 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed.
6. Stir in the caramel until completely combined.

To assemble
1. Preheat oven according to chocolate cake recipe directions. Place 24 cupcake wrappers in cupcake pans.
2. Place approximately 1 Tablespoon of crust in the bottom of each cupcake wrapper. Pack down with a spoon.
3. Prepare the chocolate cake according to your recipe. Fill each cupcake wrapper with batter until the wrapper is about three-quarters full.
4. Bake the cupcakes according to chocolate cake recipe directions. Let cool.
5. To fill the cupcakes, either place filling in a pastry bag and squeeze bag into the center of each cooled cupcake, or use an apple corer or knife to create a hole in the top of the cupcake and spoon filling into the center. Each cupcake should be filled with about 1 Tablespoon of caramel.
6. Frost cupcakes using a piping bag with a tip of your choice or frost with a knife. (It tastes great either way!)
7. Sprinkle with crushed Twix bars.

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