excerpted from One Sweet Cupcake, by Janell Brown

Samoa Cupcakes

Named after the Girl Scout cookies, these cupcakes are loaded with chocolate, coconut and caramel. Just looking at them is enough to make your mouth water! —janell brown

Samoa Cupcakes

courtesy of Janell Brown, excerpted from One Sweet Cupcake

Makes: 24 standard-sized cupcakes

Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

PLACE chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour boiling water over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Using the whisk attachment, mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

ADD sour cream, applesauce, oil, eggs and vanilla.

IN a separate bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

FOLD in shredded coconut.

TURN the stand mixer on low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Batter should be smooth.

LINE two standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Fill each cup two-thirds full with batter. Use an ice cream scoop for perfect measuring. Bake until the tops spring back at the touch of your finger and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

REMOVE from tins, and cool completely before filling and icing.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Ice with Caramel Buttercream and garnish with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Caramel Filling and Toasted Coconut.

Caramel Buttercream Icing

Courtesy of Janell Brown, excerpted from One Sweet Cupcake

2 pounds butter, softened
4 pounds powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons caramel extract
2 tablespoons caramel sauce

First make traditional Vanilla Buttercream Icing:  In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light, completely smooth and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add half of the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Alternately, add remaining powdered sugar and milk until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth.

Transform the Vanilla Buttercream Icing into Caramel Buttercream Icing:  Add 3 teaspoons caramel extract and 2 tablespoons caramel sauce to a batch of Vanilla Buttercream Icing. Beat until smooth.

Caramel Filling

Courtesy of Janell Brown, excerpted from One Sweet Cupcake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, melt butter, and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until caramel sauce begins to thicken.

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