dulce de leche

Yes, you read the title correctly, “Better Than Sex” Cupcakes!

I wish I could take credit for the name, but I can’t.  So are they really as amazing as the name self-proclaims???  Well, the jury is still out on that, BUT,  the last time I made these, a serious debate on whether these were truly better than sex ensued (among Columbia grad students, at that!).  No joke.  I will say though, that (unlike some things) these cupcakes are satisfying each time without fail.  They really are pretty amazing (and I should know, I’ve made a fair number of cupcakes!).  They’re rich and decadent, and it’s really hard to eat just one!

There’s a variation of theories of how these should be made.  Here’s my take.

First, we’ll make devil’s food cake batter.  Devil’s food cake is a very moist and rich chocolate cake.  To make devil’s food cake, combine the sugar and butter with boiled water and mix well until the butter has melted.

In a  KitchenAid Stand Mixer or large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Then mix in the butter mixture.  Mix until the mixture is smooth.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners.  I got a little messy here.

Once the cupcakes are baked, let it cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, whip the heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar together into either soft or hard peaks.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, using a toothpick, poke some holes into each cupcake.

 

Now for the fun part — the dulce de leche part!  I’ve made my own ahead of time, but you can certainty buy these pre-made (though, why would you when it’s so easy to make!)

Pour some of the dulce de leche on top of each cupcake.

This is probably the hard part — hard to not eat all the dulce de leche while making this!  So good!

Allow the dulce de leche to soak into the holes of the cupcakes.

Top with some crushed toffee.

Pipe on some whipped cream frosting.

Wait!  It’s not done, don’t eat them yet!

Last step, drizzle some more dulce de leche on top.  Mmmm.  Go make them now.  They will leave you satisfied. ;)

Here’s the recipe!

“Better Than Sex” Cupcakes

Print this recipe!

Makes 24 cupcakes

Prep Time:  50 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Devils Food Cake Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 3 cups cold heavy whipping cream.
  • whisk – in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Toppings

Directions

Devils Food Cake Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in sugar and butter until butter is melted.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Set aside.
  5. Sift and mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or large bowl.
  6. Add into the mixer or bowl the butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
  7. With a spoon or measuring cup, scoop the batter into each cupcake liner and fill it 2/3 full.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. While cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can make the whipped cream frosting detailed below.
  11. Once cupcakes have cooled for a few minutes, use a toothpick and poke 5 – 8 holes in the tops of the cupcakes.
  12. Spoon about a tablespoon of Dulce de leche sauce over each cupcake.
  13. Top with crushed toffee.
  14. Once cupcakes have completely cooled, frost each cupcake with the whipped cream frosting.
  15. Garnish with additional Dulce de leche sauce and crushed toffee, if desired.

Whipped Cream Frosting  (this can be done while the cupcakes are baking and cooling)

  1. For best results, make sure that your heavy cream, whisk, and bowl are all very cold.  Heavy cream should be chilled in the refrigerator for at least several hours, preferably overnight.  Place the bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using.  They should be super cold.
  2. Whisk cream on low speed in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the whisk attachment or medium bowl until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  Increase speed to medium and continue whisking for about another 30 seconds.  Increase speed to high.
  3. Just before the cream becomes soft and billowy, slowly add the vanilla extract and sugar at the sides of the bowl, and continue whisking.
  4. Stop whisking when the cream has doubled in volume and is smooth, thick and forms soft or hard peaks.
  5. Be careful not to over beat or it ill turn to butter, which is what heavy cream will become after the hard peak stage.

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I’ve always had a bit of a crush on dulce de leche — its rich and creamy goodness makes me happy whenever I’m eat it.  Until recently, I had no idea how unbelievably easy it was to make this yourself!

Dulce de leche is basically a milk-based caramel sauce.  You can make it with whole milk and sugar, but this process takes a little more work.  Instead, I opted for the lazier version, which requires just a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Start with a can of condense milk.  Either poke two vent holes on the top of the can or open the can halfway with a can opener (as I did above).  This is important because as the milk simmers inside the can, it will need some room to simmer.  Keeping the can completely airtight may lead to a potential explosion.  And we don’t want that.  No, we want smooth and yummy non-explosive dulce de leche.

Put the partially opened can in a pot, and fill the pot with enough water to cover  3/4 of the can.  Heat the pot on the stove on low to medium heat, enough for the water to simmer, but not boil.

Let the pot and can simmer gently for about 2 hours for runny dulce de leche, 3 hours for thick dulce de leche, or up to 4 hours for solid dulce de leche.

Be sure to watch the water level during the simmering process, and add more water whenever the water level boils down too much.

When it’s done, let it cool for a while before opening up the can completely.  The condensed milk should now be colored tan or brown.  Using a spoon, stir this condensed milk/dulce de leche until it is well-blended — the bottom layers should be darker in color than the top layers.

The delicious dulce de leche can be directly eaten, or used as a part of a dessert (I’ll post a recipe for some cupcakes using this dulce de leche shortly).

[UPDATE]  Dulce de leche is a key ingredient in this “Better Than Sex” cupcake.  This is definitely a must-try cupcake!

Dulce De Leche

Print this Recipe!

Makes 1 Cup
Cooking Time:  2-4 hours

Directions

  1. Partially open with a can opener (or poke two holes on the top of) a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Put the partially-opened can in a pot, covering 3/4 of the can with water.
  3. Simmer the water and can on low to medium heat for 2-4 hours, depending on the consistency of the dulce de leche you want.  Simmer for 2 hours for runny dulce de leche, 3 hours for thick dulce de leche, or up to 4 hours for solid dulce de leche.
  4. Periodically add more water when the water level boils down too much.
  5. Remove from stove and let the can cool before opening the can completely.
  6. Stir to blend and even out the consistency of the condensed milk.
  7. Eat directly, or use as a part of a dessert.

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