Birthday Baking Extravaganza!

7 Nov

I’m back!

I know it’s been a while since my last few posts, and for this I apologize. I was putting some extra time in where I volunteer these past 2 weeks as we were wrapping up our first in school project, and then it was my husband’s birthday, which also had me pretty busy (I baked all day long, which I will chronicle here)! AND then, to top it all off, I got sick and have been suffering this nasty cold for a good few days now. I am finally feeling better enough, though, to where I can stay awake and not sleep all day long. Yay! I am behind in my posts so expect a few here in succession. I guess I will start, though, with the baking I did for my husband’s birthday:

THESE. CUPCAKES. WERE. AMAZING.

Amazing is, actually, an understatement. I normally… really dislike chocolate cake, and, if given the option, usually prefer not to eat it. I know. LUNACY! What’s wrong with me?!? Maybe it’s because I feel like chocolate cake is drier than other flavors, or that it tends to taste chalky to me, I really don’t know – for whatever reason, I do not prefer it. But my husband requested tons of chocolatey treats for his celebration and, seeing as he was the birthday boy, I (a bit reluctantly) complied with his wishes. HOWEVER, the recipe for this chocolate cake that this amazing blogger has concocted is PERFECT. It was soooooo moist, spongy, and chocolatey in a way that I found more pleasing than most chocolate cake but that most people who love chocolate cake may not even notice. And they were a MASSIVE hit! I think I also want to make these for the big celebration 826 is having on November 20th….

But I think you will also notice, in my first picture, how much they kind of look like eggs (or they did to me, at least). This is probably due mostly to my very amateur icing and photography skills, but don’t let this deter you! The deliciousness nestled inside that blanket of frosting is actually Dulce de Leche. YUM!

I had never eaten, nor made, dulce de leche before. Therefore I was very nervous. From my research I found that making dulce de leche can be very dangerous. While it is nice that the cans have to boil for 3 hours and you only need to check on them every 3o minutes or so, my paranoia and compulsiveness kept me in the kitchen for almost the entire 3 hours the cans were boiling. I was way too afraid to leave the stoveside for fear that in my minimal absence half of the water in the pot would suddenly evaporate/disintegrate into thin air and I’d be left with a huge, dangerous mess to rectify. The biggest thing I learned? That’s definitely pretty impossible, and actually hardly any of the water evaporated at all. So actually, not as dangerous as everyone was making it seem, I guess.

I was also worried, obviously, about what the taste combination of dulce de leche and chocolate cake would be like, what with having never had the former and not liking the latter. Turns out the dulce de leche, with a slight caramel taste, was the perfect creamy addition needed for me to absolutely adore these cupcakes. It also makes them seem *~*fancy*~* and who doesn’t love fancy every once in a while? ;)

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
(From 6 Bittersweets – Total time is about 4-5 hours, makes 12 cupcakes)

What you need:

  • 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water (or 1/2 cup black coffee)
  • 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche (about 1 can of sweetened condensed milk)
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)

Directions (You should make sure that your Dulce de Leche is cooked and cooled before baking the cupcakes):

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease top of a standard muffin pan, then line with paper liners.

2. In large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, milk, coffee (or reconstituted coffee mixture), oil, and vanilla extract. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.

3. Pour the batter, which will be very thin, to fill the paper liners about 2/3 full. Tap the pan firmly against the counter 2 times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack and let them cool completely there before frosting.

4. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting and the dulce de leche topping by stirring to ensure smoothness and adding milk or cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to thin the dulce de leche to the desired spreading consistency.

5. Once cupcakes are completely cool, cut out a small circle in the top of each cupcake. Spread the topping on with a spoon or knife, letting it fill the hole. Once the topping is settled, frost the outside rims of each cupcake with your desired amount of frosting.

For the frosting (from here):

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer.

2. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.

3. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes.

If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

ALSO, anyone remember those cake batter cookies? Yeah, I made the chocolate variation of them as well. Chocolate cake mix + white chocolate chips. They were also pretty phenomenal as well ;D Those cookies are so quick and easy – such a life saver! I planed them as a back-up in case these failed, since they can be made so fast, but luckily EVERYTHING turned out to be amazing and we had an overabundance of yummy sweets we got to share with our friends!

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One Response to “Birthday Baking Extravaganza!”

  1. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets November 8, 2011 at 12:41 AM #

    Yay! I’m so glad these worked out well for you =D. This is still my favorite cake recipe, and dulce de leche is heavenly and better in my opinion than regular caramel due to all that great milky flavor. Now that you don’t hate chocolate cake so much, you should try the s’mores cupcake on my site too (if you like s’mores). It is hands down the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever made/tasted. Have a great week! -Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets

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