White chocolate and wasabi cupcakes with salted caramel topping

Sometimes curiosity gets the better of me and I have to make something just to see what it tastes like. Some combinations sound so strange on the page that I can’t imagine the flavours together in one dish. So I get out my bowl and spoon and put it together, 100% prepared for the eventuality that it may be completely inedible. Such was the case in this recipe from Marian Keyes’ Saved by Cake .

While I am a great fan of wasabi on my sushi and other savoury dishes, I couldn’t imagine that flavour together in a white chocolate cupcake.
While this recipe turned out one of the fluffiest, most texturally fantastic cupcakes I’ve made in quite a while, it lacked what I thought would be a really interesting flavour. Perhaps I was expecting heat or more horseradish flavour to shine through when really the end result was a white chocolate cupcake with an undertone of horseradish that many people mistook for lime or didn’t recognise at all.
Having said that, these cupcakes managed to (almost completely) vanish in an office of largely non-adventurous eaters. They were, of course, helped along by the best caramel topping I have ever made (not to be confused with my caramel macaron filling, which is equally amazing). I can see this topping gracing many cakes to come in future, with it’s glossy ribbons oozing languidly down to the plate.

The cupcakes however, I can’t see myself making in future, although if you are a white chocolate fan, or baking for those who are, I would recommend trying them out.


  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs of wasabi paste

Caramel Topping

  • 100g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

After pre-heating your oven to 180° and lining your cupcake pans, melt the white chocolate in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and mix briskly until melted. Now add the sugar and mix together. The mix will be a little lumpy but don’t worry, it will be smoothed out shortly.

Add one egg and the vanilla essence and beat for at least 30 seconds. The mix should become smooth and bubbly. Now beat in the other eggs one at a time. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and fold through. Finally (if you’re game) add a good tablespoon of wasabi and blitz briefly with the electric beaters to smooth through.
Divide between 12 patty pans and bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool in the tray on a wire rack to finish cooking.

While the cupcakes bake, get on with the caramel topping by placing all ingredients except the salt in a small saucepan. Place over a low heat to melt the butter. Once it has melted, turn up the heat to medium to simmer the mixture and stir very briskly for 5 to 8 minutes, without allowing it to boil.

You will see it thicken as you stir but do please be careful; the toffee will be blisteringly hot and burn instantly if you splash it on your hands. Let the mix cool a little before you pour it over the cupcakes, otherwise it will run down the side. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt (if you have it to hand).


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