A while back, while surfing the net, I came across dulce de leche made using sweetened condensed milk. Intrigued by the description of the milky caramel taste, I decided to make some.
Common instructions are to immerse an unopened can of condensed milk into a pot of simmering water for 4 hours or to place unopened cans in a slow cooker. However, there were concerns on the suitability of boiling the cans that the condensed milk came in. So the method recommended was to transfer the condensed milk into canning glass jars and proceed with the simmering or slow cooker method.
I tried the slow cooker method. And gave my poor Dad a sleepless night on Saturday. 😛 I used about 1 1/2 cans of sweetened condensed milk and filled a glass canning jar. Though I stuck the jar in the slow cooker around mid afternoon, by 10 pm that night, the condensed milk had still not caramelized. So I left it on overnight. My Dad didn’t say a thing, but he had concerns regarding the safety and visions of exploding slow cooker and fire due to overheating were on his mind. He didn’t sleep very well. How did I know this? I got up at 6 am and was excitedly looking at the beautifully caramelized color of the dulce de leche. I turned around and there he was, looking anxious and asking if everything was okay. I felt so bad for making him worry.
So it is good he enjoyed the end results. He proclaimed these cupcakes as good. For those who know my Dad, they will know this is high praise indeed.
One thing I noted about the dulce de leche I made. Even after more than 14 hours in the slow cooker, it was still not properly caramelized. There were tiny grains of sugar inside. Hmm. Or did I overdo it? It doesn’t seem so since the texture of my dulce de leche is not as thick as some I see on the net. I suspect my slow cooker is not powerful enough so 14 hours is still not long enough.
I searched about for dulce de leche recipes and decided on cupcakes. I wanted the cupcakes itself to contain dulce de leche, not just the frosting. The recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures fit exactly what I wanted.
Dulce De Leche Cupcakes (adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 212 grams all-purpose flour
- 170 grams cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 170 grams unsalted butter
- 264 grams sugar (I used 200 grams)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dulce de leche
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line 2 x 12 muffin pans.
- Sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
- Add in dulce de leche. Beat until combined.
- Add in eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
- Add in oil and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add in dry ingredients (3 additions), alternating with buttermilk (2 additions), beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are well combined.
- Fill cupcake liners to 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until cake springs back when touched lightly.
- Cool completely before frosting and decorating.
Dulce De Leche Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 2 cups of italian meringue butter cream
- 6 tbsp dulce de leche
- salt (optional)
- Beat italian meringue butter cream in the bowl of a stand mixer at high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Reduce speed to low and add dulce de leche gradually, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add salt to taste, if using.
- Scoop into piping bag and frost away! I used Wilton 1M tip and decorated with chocolate hearts and chocolate caramel chips bought from Tokyu Hands at Shibuya.
This recipe is fantastic. The cake comes out soft and moist and for the first time since I started baking again, a recipe that stated 24 cupcakes really produced 24 cupcakes. I usually end up with much more. And the tops of the cupcakes would be so ugly. Almost flat but with a terribly ugly eruption at the center of the cake. There were slight eruptions for these cupcakes but not as much as other recipes I’ve used.
Taste-wise, though I reduced the sugar, the cupcakes were still quite sweet. I kind of expected it, which was why I added salt to the butter cream. Yes, unbelievable, since I reduced the sugar in the cake by 64 grams. Goodness. My dad is okay with the sweetness but my mum couldn’t take it. The dulce de leche can be tasted from both the cupcake and the butter cream and it is marvelous. Milky, with a hint of caramel. The cake is moist and soft and not overly crumbly. This cupcake is a sure winner, except to those who do not like too sweet stuff.
Anyway, as my dad puts it so eloquently: ” If it ain’t sweet, it ain’t a cupcake. It is meant to be this way.” Yeah, I agree. Take away too much of the sugar and the softness of the cake will be compromised.