CCM: What are you planning on baking this week?
Me: I’m not sure yet. Any ideas?
CCM: (response within a nanosecond) Cupcakes with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream...but I haven’t really thought about it.
So, having received my orders I then started to ponder how I could make these different to my previous vanilla buttercream cupcakes.
Dulce de leche is a sinfully delicious milk caramel sauce.
It is widely available in supermarkets but I bought mine, made by Argentineans living in London, from a stall in Borough Market. Suddenly, an idea announced itself into my brain...what if the cupcakes were flavoured with dulce de leche? Here is the prize ingredient:
I tweaked my standard cupcake recipe slightly to take into consideration that dulce de leche is made with milk. The cupcakes came out very well but I found they took a few minutes longer to cook than a plain cupcake mix.
The nude cupcakes are a beautiful caramel colour, the taste was subtle and left a hint of toffee/caramel in your mouth:
I realise I’m a bit late but here is my entry for the Turner Prize; I call it “Non vampiric cupcakes”:
My piping skills are definitely improving and I am very proud of my swirls:
For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
3 tablespoons dulce de leche
1 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed)
For the buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar – I used vanilla infused caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
- Start by making the cupcakes. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, flour, milk and dulce de leche to the bowl and beat until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. The cupcakes can be made a day in advance and stored, when cool, in an airtight container. I made the buttercream on the day I wanted it.
- Make the buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir constantly to stop the egg from cooking.
- After 5-10 minutes the sugar should have dissolved. You will know whether this has happened by looking at the back of the spoon – if you can see any sugar crystals the mix needs more heating and stirring.
- When no crystals are visible, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the meringue mixture until it has puffed up and cooled.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the meringue and continue to whisk. The mixture will collapse initially but don’t panic; keep whisking and it will form a smooth, fluffy buttercream.
- Pipe on to the cupcakes and decorate as you wish.
- The finished cupcakes will keep for a couple of days at room temperature. Not that they’ll have the chance!
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.