Monday, July 23, 2012

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

I make a lot of cupcakes. I share them, I freeze them, I gift them and I most definitely eat them. If you're dieting, this is not the recipe for you. The 24 cupcakes will have over 1 pound of butter in them, which of course adds to their greatness.

I doubled this recipe too. When I decide to bake, I bake a bunch. Its worth it to me. These cupcakes, this icing, they froze great - although were a little dry after thawing. But still tasted excellent.

I would probably make this recipe again - but separate. Maybe the icing with vanilla cupcakes or the cupcakes with Vanilla or Chocolate Icing. The were definitely good but I prefer a bit of mix when it comes to flavouring and these don't have an intense flavour. You could probably add more Dulce de Leche and get away with it. For those of you that like Vanilla with Vanilla - these are your cupcakes (a bit outside the box).

You need the thick, rich dulce de leche, the thin eagle brand might not cut it. I have't tried but if you're going to the trouble of this recipe you should invest (or make) the good stuff. I froze these cupcakes after they had been iced and they thawed and still tasted great. If you haven't made swiss meringue buttercream before, read through some of the other posts. This one worked really well for me, which was great since it was my first one. I think the thicker dulce de leche helped, the thinner flavour additive you use, the better chance it will look like it curdled and you may have some problems.

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
(Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventure's)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dulce de leche
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Dulce de Leche Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups  sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup dulce de leche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk both flours, the baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the dulce de leche, continuing to beat until completely incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the oil and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients (in 3 additions) and the buttermilk (in 2 additions), beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans, filling each well about 2/3 - 3/4 full.  Bake the cupcakes for 18-22 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt together.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160 F on an instant read thermometer.

Secure the bowl on the mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat the  mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, and the outside of the mixer bowl is cool to the touch, about 7-8 minutes.  With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding the next.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is thick and smooth, 3-4 minutes.  Mix in the dulce de leche and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Frost the cupcakes.

Makes 24 cupcakes

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