Saturday, January 29, 2011

Samoa™ Cupcakes

I wish I could say that this cupcake flavor was inspired by the recent news of the Girl Scout cookie cut-backs. But alas, even though I think I'm a bit early for Girl Scout cookie season (at least I haven't seen any troops outside the grocery stores yet), but I had those delicious Samoa cookies on my mind. I don't really know why the Samoa's (or "Caramel De-lights") ended up at the top of my favorite GS cookie list considering I don't generally go for coconut goodies, but maybe the marriage with caramel and chocolate is just too much to resist.

I tried the traditional cookie recipe for this last year and absolutely loved it, and figured it could use the cupcake make-over routine. Not that the cookie needs improvement, it's just always fun to play with the flavors in a different form. The cupcake rendition does have an added frosting layer which you won't find in the cookie, but the cupcake doesn't have a crunchy cookie either. In any case, I think it's quite tasty. I chose a chocolate cupcake base to keep the flavors rich (but it might be good with a vanilla cupcake too), topped with a carmel buttercream, toasted coconut flakes, caramel swirl, and then a bittersweet ganache. So far, everyone who tried this one was very enthusiastic about it.

Makes approximately 18 cupcakes.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line cupcake tins.

Toast 1 cup of sweetened coconut on a sheet pan for approximately 15 minutes, making sure to mix around the coconut every 5 minutes so to get the most even toasting. Set aside to cool.

Make Caramel Sauce (taken from Ina Garten):

This makes about 1-3/4 cups. You really only need about 1/4 cup for the cupcakes, but you can keep the rest refrigerated for a couple months (but I'm sure you could find reasons to use it up before then).
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla 

Mix the water and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla extract. Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Serve warm, or add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and serve room temperature.

Make Chocolate cupcake:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs butter 
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk

Mix flour, baking soda, powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl. In separate, heat proof bowl, melt butter in microwave (45-60 seconds). Mix in cocoa powder until mixture is paste-like and add in vanilla until smooth. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time until incorporated.
Mix water and milk together in small bowl. Alternating between flour and water mixtures, add each to the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just incorporated. Fill cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool.

Make Caramel buttercream:
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 3 tbs caramel sauce
Whip butter until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Once incorporated, add in milk and caramel sauce until mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.

Make Chocolate Ganache:
  • 3 oz heavy cream
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (or milk, if that's your preference), chopped uniformly
  • 1 tbs butter

In a microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate for approx. 20 seconds and set aside. In another microwave safe bowl, put butter in cream and heat in microwave for 45 seconds, or until it just reaches a boil. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let set for a minute, then whisk together until all the chocolate has melted and is smooth. 

Assemble cupcakes. Using a piping gun or bag, frost the cupcakes. No need for making it pretty, since the next step is rolling the frosted cupcakes in the toasted coconut. Then drizzle caramel sauce over the coconut followed by a drizzling of ganache. 



  1. These sound delicious - can't wait to give them a try!

  2. that looks really good, I am going to have to make some of these

  3. Samoas or Caramel Delights are my fav GS cookies, always has been. I quit buying them because I would buy 4-5 boxes at a time...then eat them up within a month. Gee nads!

    In any case, chocolate and caramel are my two favs together, not to mention coconut! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will try it! BTW...I can't wait!

  4. Is the batter suppose to be thick? Mine came out almost like brownie batter And I noticed (Unless I missed it)that in the cupcake recipe portion that the milk was not in the direction part.

    1. I will make a note in the directions that the water and milk should be incorporated beforehand. Sorry if that added to confusion. The batter should be relatively thick - maybe not quite like brownies, so if didn't include the milk in your batter, that could be why.

  5. Can these (including frosting) be made a day ahead of time? If so, what is the best way to keep them, and should the frosting and/or coconut be kept separately? Also, to make the cupcakes moist, would you recommend adding an additional egg yolk or some sour cream?

    1. I think the frosting would keep just fine for a day. I'm not sure if just adding sour cream or egg yolks would necessarily make the cakes stay moist for an extra day (perhaps you can report back if you do it and have good results). I've heard a trick with wedding cake decorating where you drizzle some simple syrup on the cake to help keep it moist, but typically that's after the cake top has been sliced off (the top of a cupcake isn't quite as porous, so proceed with caution if you want to try this trick). To prepare these a day ahead, I think that baking and assembling them and then storing at room temperature will yield a moist cake, but the topping might look less fresh. Probably will still taste great.

    2. Thank you for the reply! Planning to try these out for a party, and just wanted to try to time things out as well as possible without sacrificing quality. I may try to bake and frost them the night before, then add the rest of the toppings the day of. Thanks again!

    3. fair warning, if left overnight, the frosting will form an outer layer that coconut won't stick to unless you go back and run a knife or fork over the surface. That will help make the frosting "sticky" again.