The thing is: you MUST freeze the Rolo’s. This will slow down the melting and potential boiling of the toffee centre, and they make yummy little treats.
I had this cupcake idea during a sensory evaluation session, and immediately purchased 3 rolls of Rolo (there are 10 in a pack, in case you were wondering). Then there was this incident at home involving my two delinquent cats and a dismembered bird, and I used one of the rolls of Rolo to pay a security guard to remove the offending feathered parts. THEN I froze the remainder, and THEN I accidentally ate a few while preparing the cupcakes (they freeze surprisingly quickly, and are nice and crunchy and suddenly melt back into toffee – these must be the closest one can get to Moonface’s Toffee-Shocks from Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books).
I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe which I got via e-mail; the print-out has the name Ming at the bottom. I don’t know who Ming is but she makes a mean chocolate cupcake! Well done Ming! I’ve changed the preparation instructions slightly because I have a feeling Ming was smoking the ingredients while typing out the method.
To continue with the caramel toffee theme, I made a caramel frosting using the simplest recipe I could find. I’ve never really understood the Frosting thing: it makes too many dirty dishes and its sort of nerve-racking, praying that its not going to seize and form a granite-like mass in the pot. But it is yummy. I’d recommend good ol’ Caramel Treat as another option (thanks Geraldine!), or butter icing with a bit of caramel essence.
I used my beloved “Cupcake-inator” (the Salton Elite tabletop cupcake maker) (thanks Bee!) but these will work just fine in a regular convection oven too.
A warning: These cupcakes are shamefully decadent and rich and gooey. They are so sinful that you will need to say 10 Hail Mary’s straight after eating them, and help an old person cross the street.
What you will need for about 12 outrageously yummy Rolo cupcakes:
1 cup cake flour
½ cup decent cocoa powder (the alkalized kind, for those who are interested)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine (I find margarine much easier to work with in this recipe)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg (room temperature)
¾ cup milk
2 rolls of frozen Rolo
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or fire up the Cupcake-inator. Put cupcake liners into a muffin tin or spray the Cupcake-inator pockets with non-stick spray. I know that it’s Teflon-coated but I don’t trust such newfangled notions.
In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
In a separate bowl, beat the life out of the butter or margarine to soften it up, then add the sugar and continue beating. Ming says that you should use an electric beater and beat it til light and fluffy, but what I find is that there’s so much sugar that it never does get creamy and instead the beaters just throw little clumps of sugary butter all over the kitchen. Just beat it around by hand with a wooden spoon until it’s evenly mixed. Add the vanilla and the egg and then use the electric beater to beat it on low-medium speed til fluffy and light in colour (if it starts to look a little curdle-y, add a teaspoon of flour).
Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately and fold in using the wooden spoon (don’t beat it vigorously, unless you did want doorstops instead of cupcakes at the end).
Remove the Rolo’s from the freezer. Fill the cupcake liners or Cupcake-inator pockets about halfway (a little less batter than usual because the Rolo will take up space). Push a frozen Rolo into the centre – make sure it’s covered with batter, either by scooping a little of the surrounding batter over it or adding a tiny dollop extra on top. Immediately bake in a convection oven for 15-20 minutes, or in the Cupcake-inator for 5-6 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, remember to lick out the bowl to help reduce washing-up.
If using a Cupcake-inator, carefully remove the finished cupcakes with a non-metal implement; if using a regular oven, just pop them out like normal. Either way, park them on a cooling rack to cool down before you embellish them further. If there is a particularly ugly one (and there always is), keep it aside for testing purposes but no matter how tempting it is do NOT stick it in your mouth fresh from the oven because the toffee will be hotter than hot, and it WILL blister your tongue and tonsils and oesophagus and digestive tract. It took me a few tries to get the optimal quantity of batter into the Cupcake-inator – where I had put too much batter in, it oozed over the sides and made a lid, which was prone to breaking off along the edges and lifting off altogether. This did however give me a unique insight into the heart of the cupcake, and because they were so ugly I was forced to eat them.
To make the Caramel Frosting:
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
A teeny tiny pinch of salt. I forgot to add it so maybe it’s not necessary.
½ of a 1/3rd cup of milk (long story – just use a 1/3rd cup measure but pour the milk only up to halfway).
Mix the sugar and flour together in a small saucepan – this is to evenly disperse the flour and prevent lumps. Add the butter, milk and salt, and heat slowly over medium heat until it starts to boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes – it will look quite scary and dramatic, and you may have visions of child burn-victims, but its over quite quickly. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken before giving it a stir until it’s sort of fudge-y and grainy, then spoon over the cooled cupcakes. If it gets too thick add a tiny bit of milk and stir it through. Even though it will look a little rough, once you spoon it over the cupcake it magically becomes smooth and glossy again.
Before the frosting sets completely, sprinkle a little salt over the top.
(While the frosting was still warm I managed to make one very arty swirly-patterned cupcake, but the more I worked with the frosting the more it started to turn into a fudge-flavoured rock so I gave up and just plonked it on any old how.)
Now when you eat them, you must undo your belt and top button, then settle down in your favourite armchair, put your phone on silent, keep a hot cup of coffee nearby and then… you may bite into gooey chocolate heaven… hmmmmmm.
Then get cracking with those Hail Mary’s.