Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cake of the Week: Dulce de Leche Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Due to the fact that Sister1 and I both have 9-6 (ish) jobs, and do many other things, and live on opposite coasts with a 3-hour time difference, we don’t talk on the phone very much. But we have developed quite the text-messaging relationship. When something delicious is concocted on either end, it’s phone-out and picture time! The caption is usually a simple name, i.e. Dulce de Leche Filled Chocolate Cupcakes! 

In a way this is gloating…my response is usually something along the lines of, GAH I hate you, why don’t you live next door so you can feed me right now?!?! But I do the same thing right back at her…so there’s that. My other (less emotional) response is Write a blog post! Because she talks about writing a guest series for me, but I can’t get her to commit! Let’s all show Sister1 some love for this recipe (and for her previous Chai Tea Latte Cupcakes), and get her to be a regular Eat Run Read contributor.

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for Dulce de Leche cupcakes and all I could think about after was that I had to buy dulce de leche. I was in Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago ogling their chocolate dulce de leche (which sounded delicious), but I needed the regular kind so put off making these cupcakes. Another two weeks went by and I still had dulce de leche on my mind. I just so happened to wander into Sur la Table and there it was!!!

I know how crazy this sounds. I know that you can make dulce de leche at home. But I just didn’t want to do that. I wanted the cute jar with the burlap wrapper at the top! Done.

With my dulce de leche in hand, I went home to examine the recipe that inspired this idea in the first place. Upon second look, I decided it didn’t sound all that great…so I decided to wait and let the jar of dulce de leche sit in my cabinet and on my mind.

There were St. Patrick’s Day recipes all over the internet and the Pot of Gold Cupcake from Beantown Baker looked amazing! Aha! There was my inspiration and here is my adaptation…with my favorite vegan chocolate cake of course! I have already made these twice this weekend and have decided that it is probably the best cupcake that I have ever made!

Now that I have officially gone into a self-induced sugar coma, I’m seriously considering doing BluePrintCleanse’s 3 day Cleanse and live off of green juice and cashew milk…we’ll see…more from me on that later! [Editor’s note: that sounds gross…but intriguing…I’m interested to hear how it goes!]

Easiest Chocolate Cake 
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
From Organic and Chic
1 1/8 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 cups organic cane sugar
1/2 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic canola oil
1 teaspoons organic white vinegar
1 cups cold water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line one cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.  
In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  Set aside. (I use my kitchenaid mixer bowl)
2. Whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.  (I like to use a large liquid measuring cup so I can just pour it into the mixing bowl)
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients on low speed being careful not to overmix.  The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.  
4. Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.  
5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool.
6. Once the cupcakes are cool, core them however works best for you. I use a knife and cut around in a circle. I also don’t replace the top because I like to eat those to make sure the cupcakes are good! 

7. Fill with dulce de leche and then top with a generous amount of buttercream.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream 
Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes with a little leftover (This was enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes with some left over)

4 oz egg whites (3-4 large egg whites or about 1/2 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon extract, almond extract, orange extract, or vanilla extract

1. Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C).

2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. 

3. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.)

4. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the rest of the butter and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer's speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a MEDIUM-HIGH speed.

5. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to LOW. Add flavoring and continue to beat on LOW speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on MEDIUM-HIGH speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds.