Dark Secret Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

It's summer, so I spend a lot of my time outside.  Since the Coast Guard Festival (the local annual Big Event) wound up this past weekend, it's even finally possibly to go downtown.  So today was devoted to wandering around town and taking the girls to the newly installed "splash pad."  This, for the uninitiated, is a cement area with multiple fountains installed for kids to run through on hot summer days.  Once we got home, cupcakes happened.  This recipe is an adaptation of a chocolate cake that appeared in the 3rd Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off.  Though the buttercream icing is my own addition.

Dark Secret Cupcakes

3/4 c. cocoa
1/3 c. + 3 Tbsp unsalted butter or shortening, divided
1-1/4 c. sugar
1 c. milk, divided
2-1/4 c. Fancy Flour Blend, other GF AP flour, OR
1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
3/4 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. Bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liner.
In a small saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp of butter and stir in cocoa.  Stir in 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 c. milk.  Cook and stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.  Whisk and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together 1/3 c. shortening and 1 c. sugar.

Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate mixture alternatingly, then add 1/2 c. milk.  Beat on medium-high for two minutes, until smooth.

Stir in chopped chocolate.

Portion into cupcake liners with a 2 oz disher and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Dulce de Leche Buttercream

This is yet another adaptation of my favorite recipe, The Brave Tart's German Buttercream.  This time, in lazy fashion.  I used purchased Dulce de Leche, found in the International section of my local supermarket.  It's made by Nestle, and it's very tasty!

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 c. milk
5 oz. sugar
3/4 oz cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 can (~7 oz) Dulce de Leche
1 lb. unsalted butter

Stir together sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Beat in egg and egg yolk.  Set aside.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until just scalded.  Temper in the egg mixture.  Return to heat and cook until mixture thickens.  Place mixture and Dulce de Leche into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until mixture reaches room temperature.  Add butter 1 Tbsp at a time until all butter is incorporated and mixture is light and fluffy.  Pipe atop cucpakes.

These cupcakes are remarkable complex, with a distinct bitter undertone (which my children did not seem to mind).  The caramel icing complements the slightly-salty, not-to-sweet cupcakes very well.  Try 'em out!


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