Apparently every year around this time I feel the need to put myself on a little hiatus for a week or two. It's never planned, but somehow or another it always sneaks up on me and I find myself taking a step back, a deep breath, and just giving myself a chance to recharge.
This time last year after I returned home from a trip to London and Paris, and started two summer classes the next day, I took a week or so and stepped away from the blog, coming back with renewed vigor and ready to begin again.
This year after returning home from a trip to London and Dublin, starting one summer class (but to be fair one that is so much harder than both of last year's combined) and not feeling too hot from one of my flights, I knew another week of just taking a step away was just what I needed.
And here I am back again, refreshed and ready to spend my summer shoving baked goods under your noses without any end in sight.
The night before I left I decided to whip up some Dulce de Leche cupcakes on a whim.
And let me tell you, these were so good I was legitimately considering seeing if I could bring a few in my carry on.
A brown sugar cupcake, topped with a cream cheese dulce de leche icing, and drizzled with even more homemade dulce de leche on top.
Do I really have to strain and come up with adjectives here that won't do these justice? Or can you just take a look above and also take my word for it. Sometimes wonderful, fantastic, and fabulous just sound a little dry and dull. And these are anything but dry and dull.
I snapped these shots as the sun was fading and they still look completely drool-worthy so that in itself should be a sign of how amazing they are.
I will probably hold back on the icing just a little bit the next time I whip them up, as it's pretty rich and goes a long way, but test around and see what the perfect amount is for you.
The important thing is that you make these.
And I promise my hiatus for the year is over and you're stuck with me.
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
Servings: 1 dozen
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- slightly less than 1/2 cup dulce de leche
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar (I erred on the side of 2)
More dulce de leche for drizzling
(If you can find store-bought dulce de leche feel free to use it in this recipe. It can be found in the international aisle of many well stocked supermarkets. I have made homemade with much success more than once. A link to a great homemade recipe to start is right here.)
To make cupcakes:
Preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with liners.
In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt Whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until fluffy and pale. Approximately 3 minutes. Add one egg and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the remaining egg, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add half of the flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture. Beat on low speed and slowly drizzle in the buttermilk. Beat until just incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients, beating on low until combined. Try not to over mix.
Fill each cupcake well 2/3 of the way full, tapping the pan to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool in pan for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks before proceeding.
To make frosting:
Place cream cheese in the bowl of a clean electric stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add the butter and dulce de leche. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the salt and powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color.
Spoon frosting onto cupcakes or pipe with a piping bag.
Top with extra dulce de leche drizzled on top.
Recipe adapted from: Joy the Baker