So I wanted to make something with caramel in it because after the last chocolate-chocolate extravaganza I was craving something a little different. So I decided to do dulce de leche since a) I’d been wanting to try making it and b) caramel-y things are yummy ^^
Unfortunately I couldn’t find just one recipe that worked – so I used one for the base and one for the frosting. I also made the dulce de leche from scratch as well as buying some from Whole Foods, just in case.
Cupcake (makes ~48 mini cupcakes)
- 1/2 c boiling water
- 3/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 c milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 5/8 c dark brown sugar
- 3/8 c granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 5/8 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/3 c chocolate dulce de leche sauce
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In a bowl, whisk the boiling water into cocoa until smooth and whisk in milk and vanilla extract.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes
- Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Into another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and add to egg mixture in batches alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beating well after each addition.
- Stir in the dulce de leche.
- Fill each wrapper slightly less than 3/4 of the way. They rise a bit more than most batters.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
I got the recipe from Cupcake Project and halved it since 30 big cupcakes would make way too many mini cupcakes. I bought a chocolate dulce de leche sauce from Whole Foods since I hadn’t started making the sauce yet and I was worried that it wouldn’t come out well/soon enough. Turns out that was a good idea because dulce de leche takes a while to make.
Dulce de Leche Buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar (more to taste)
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup dulce de leche (more to taste – recipe here)
- 1.5 oz cream cheese (more to taste)
- Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.
- Add cream, salt, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cream cheese and the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.
- Frost cooled cupcakes using a knife or a pastry bag and tip.
As always – frosting is the one place in baking that you can be completely inexact. I’ve never been a huge fan of buttercream frosting, so I always cut it with some cream cheese in order to cut out some of the sweetness. I also tend to make too much frosting – and this recipe will probably frost 1.5x/2x the amount of cupcakes than the 48 you make – but I always prefer to have more than less.
I made the dulce de leche from scratch the milk-stove top way since I was a bit hesitant about the whole exploding can thing. Unfortunately I didn’t do so well – I think I didn’t whisk it quite enough at the start or bring it to a full enough boil – the foam from whisking masked the boiling state and so it took a lot longer to make and didn’t really start until after I brought it to a full boil. I also left it a bit too long – it had mostly come together and I left it for a bit too long and it started to boil and then it clumped together a bit. Still tasted really good though and worked well in the frosting.
These are definitely one of my favorite cupcakes yet. The cake itself was incredibly moist. It was chocolaty without being overwhelming and the hint of caramel in the cake was really nice. The frosting could have been a bit more caramel-y but it balanced nicely with the cake and made a nice light snack for something that was so rich.
These were very well received. One recipe request and most people ate more than one – they’re very pop-able that way – one makes you sort of want a second. Overall definitely a favorite and one I’ll definitely be making again – with perhaps a try at the condensed milk version of dulce de leche since the other took so long :).