Decadent desserts

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My youngest daughter and I were discussing nutrition earlier this week.  Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:

Me: “I love super-healthy main courses.  My idea of the perfect meal is a healthy main course, and a decadent dessert.”

Her: “I love super-healthy desserts.  My idea of the perfect meal is a healthy dessert for the main course, and a decadent dessert for dessert.”

We both agree that this dessert falls under the category of decadent.  The vanilla cupcakes are great on their own, but I couldn’t resist adding a dulce de leche filling that made them everything I ever dreamed a cupcake could be.  I was glad she took most of them to her friend’s cottage this weekend, or I might have been tempted to overindulge in these decadent treats. 

I think we’d both find room for it in our perfect meal.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting and Dulce de Leche filling
(adapted from Eats Well With Others; Dulce de Leche from this brownie recipe)
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbsp (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

For the Dulce de Leche Filling:
1 can (400 g) sweetened condensed milk
pinch kosher salt or sea salt

For the vanilla buttercream icing:
16 Tbsp (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt


1. For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a mixing cup.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, altering with the buttermilk, in three additions, ending with the flour.  Mix until just incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds more.

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 20 – 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool 5 – 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.

2. For the dulce de leche filling:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Pour condensed milk into a glass pie plate or pyrex baking dish.  Stir in salt.

Set the baking dish inside a roasting pan and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.  Cover the pie plate snugly with foil, tucking it in around the sides at the top. Bake between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 hours.  (While baking, check occasionally and add more water to the roasting pan if necessary.)

Once the dulce de leche has browned, remove from the oven and let cool.  Whisk until smooth.  Store in the fridge until ready to use.

3. For the vanilla buttercream:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until totally combined.  Add the vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt, beating to combine.  Beat for 1 minute.

4. Assembly

Using a small paring knife, cut a circle into the middle of each cupcake and remove a cone-shaped portion of cake.  Don’t cut right down to the bottom or to the edges or the filling will ooze out.  Spoon the dulce de leche filling into the hole until level with the top.  Once all the cupcakes have been filled, frost them with the vanilla buttercream.


Vi said...

Wow, those do look decadent! I agree about dessert, I've never really understood having fruit for dessert. I like fruit, but if it doesn't include whipped cream or chocolate it's just fruit ;)

Kathy said...

Oh wow, these definitely fit the bill for decadent! Dulce de Leche is one of my favorite things! Beautiful, Beth!

Valerie Gamine said...

Oh, thanks for the reminder that I need to make cupcakes again very soon! They look super-decadent. :D

Anonymous said...

I've never made a filled cupcake, but they always look so good. These sound like a great combination of flavors.

Gloria Baker said...

look amazing Beth we all here love Dulce de leche and your daugther is georgeous!

Kitchen Riffs said...

If it's not decadent it's not really dessert! And these cupcakes surely qualify - terrific stuff! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Love the centers!

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Mmmmm, love everything about these cupcakes. The photo of your daughter is darling! Enjoy them while they are with you Beth! I'm enjoying your blog SO much!


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Certainly decadent and yummy! Love the dulce de leche filling!

Julie said...

Oh these look beautiful! Wish I had one for dessert a bit later! Hope you have a great week.

scrambledhenfruit said...

I like your daughter's definition of a perfect meal. ;) These cupcakes do look wonderfully decadent, and I could definitely find a place for them in my meal plan!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

These cupcakes sound so worth the indulgence--I would love biting into the hidden dulce de leche!

Belinda said...

Desserts are meant for decadence, right?

Caroline Taylor said...

Dulce de leche in a cupcake?! Amazing.

Joanne said...

Okay adding dulce de leche to these is just GENIUS!! And I agree with both yours and your daughter's POVs...just depends on the day!

Beth said...

Ha! Thanks for the cupcake recipe, Joanne. It rocks!

Kristin Lenz said...

Funny how people either love cupcakes or can easily pass them up. My daughter always asks for them, but I'm "eh." Dulce de leche might change my mind though!

Cathleen said...

Haha, I agree with your daughter. Desserts all the way :p.
This looks fantastic! I need to make cupcakes soon

Rosita Vargas said...

Amo también el dulce de leche una receta decadente e irresistible,también soy autora de algunos libros infantiles,hugs.

Unknown said...

OMG that picture has me drooling~

Kayte said...

LOL...neither one of you looks like you ever eat dessert at all...but I know better because I have been reading this blog for a long time. Lovely pictures...put thee behind me, Satan!! LOL.

Unknown said...

I have to make these! Maybe I'll surprise my hubby with them. Hmmm. Or maybe not. Then he'll expect me to bake instead of write.

Wow they look yummy!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

These cupcakes would be the best desserts ever :D


Juliana said...

These cupcakes look so pretty and yes, I love the dulce de leche filling...and these cupcakes look decadent indeed :D
Have a great week ahead Beth!

Angie's Recipes said...

LOL I love the idea of the perfect meal from your daughter...she is witty.
The cupcakes look decadent and divine!

grace said...

i do love a filled cupcake! i also fully appreciate your daughter's philosophy. :)

Emily said...

These cupcakes look amaaazing!

Amy said...

Filled cupcakes are the best! I'm with you on the healthy main course and the decadent dessert.

Needful Things said...

Dulce de Leche makes everything divine!

Katerina said...

I agree with you the role of the dessert is to be decadent! And these babies are so much!!!

Danielle's Sweets said...

I can't imagine a more perfect cupcake! Wow, these look SO gooood!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cupcakes and the Dulce de Leche filling sounds absolutely delicious!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Oh, I love the dulce de leche filling that you added to these - heavenly! They do sound truly decadent and I'd loooove one right now. =)

nancy at good food matters said...

Dulce de leche filling! Dangerously good!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, these cupcakes definitely look utterly decadent and so very pretty - what a wonderful recipe! And I like the fact that the recipe is different from the ones that I know, makes for a wonderful change!

Cindy said...

Life is uncertain--eat dessert first, said Erma Bombeck. Sometimes I agree!
This dessert looks so delicious. Our local cupcake shop makes a cupcake similar to this. It is always my first choice.
Hope you are having a great summer Beth.

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