Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chocolate & Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Chocolate and caramel… one of the great culinary combinations.

I bought a jar Dulce de Leche before I headed off to France, and now that I am back I have be dying to use it.

After tossing a few ideas around my head (David Leibovits dulce de leche brownies…dulce de leche cheesecake…) I decided on Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes, because, lets face it, cupcakes are awesome.

Now, the hardest part about this recipe was finding a decent cupcake recipe. Initially I was after a nice, dense cake, but after the first recipe failing, I dug up a chocolate cupcake recipe that I had used before which I thought would do the job nicely.

I dressed these beautiful little cupcakes with a swirl of chocolate butter cream and chocolate curls.

Now I must say, these little cupcakes were just glorious. They looked and tasted just fabulous. Will definitely be making again.

You can make your own Dulce de Leche (there are various methods to do so online) or you can just cheat and buy it. You could also substitute the Dulce de Leche for Nestle’s Caramel Top’n’Fill.

Chocolate & Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
50g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
240ml boiling hot water
175g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Spoon evenly among the lined cupcake pans to half fill the pans. Dollop a little (I used a piping bag, but you could use a teaspoon) Dulce de Leche into the centre of each pan, then spoon over more batter to fill.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Spread or pipe a swirl of buttercream and decorate as desired.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing
60g butter, softened
240g icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
30ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) milk

Beat butter with an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters until light and creamy. Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a bowl. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar and cocoa. Add milk and remaining icing sugar and cocoa and beat until fluffy. If necessary, add a little extra milk to achieve a creamy consistency.

Notes: To make the chocolate curls, I melted some dark chocolate and then spread it out on a pastry mat (you could use a cutting board, or similar flat surface). Wait until it is almost set and then using a cheese slicer, slowly draw the slicer in a straight line down the block of chocolate. See here

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