These cupcakes don't have a name. They deserve one. What would you call a chocolate-espresso-Nutella cupcake with dulce de leche filling and coffee buttercream? Well, freakin' delicious, for starters! I cannot eat a whole one, due to the richness of all those sweet, fatty ingredients combined. Woo! Just about every overpriced coffee shop beverage is combined in this recipe.
Now, as unhealthy as such a little indulgence is, it seems funny to think of this as a recipe for love and harmony in relationships, but that was the idea I had while I was making them. My original idea was to take them to work to add a little bit of brightness to an otherwise dreary Monday. I don't love my coworkers. I tolerate some of them. Some of them I really like, and one or two I feel shouldn't be there. Still, I took cupcakes. Maybe that's why I made them in the first place - to try to muster up some positive feelings.
Enough of this wild yak snorting. On to the recipes!
The dulce de leche takes several hours to cook, either on the stove or in a crock pot (preferred method), so plan ahead and make it the day before.
Dulce de Leche
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Method: Poke a hole in the can, remove the lab, and put it in the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 6 hours. Set aside to cool.
Cupcakes - makes approximately 3 dozen
2.5 cups cake flour*
1 ½ cups cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
2 sticks butter, room temp
3 xl eggs, room temp
¾ cup sour cream, room temp
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temp*
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup Nutella*
3 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee*
*my additions and adjustments
Method: Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in coffee, Nutella, and sour cream.
Combine dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt – in another bowl.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, alternating dry ingredients with buttermilk.
Preheat oven to 350. Scoop batter into prepare muffin tins or paper liners, filling about ¾ of the way. Bake for 30-32 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
When the cupcakes have cooled slightly, scoop out a small hole in the middle. I used a ¼ teaspoon to do this. Fill with dulce de leche.
3 sticks butter, room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder
Method: Beat everything together until you reach a frosting consistency, adding more sugar if necessary.
I topped mine with Heath bar toffee bits, chopped hazelnuts, and cinnamon. If you had some chocolate espresso beans and wanted to throw a couple of those on top in addition to/instead of the toffee bits, that would be super cool.
Make these for love (that's the chocolate part), or get fired up from the caffeine in the coffee (or the sugar in the frosting! hehe) and eat them for inspiration. Whatever your reason for making them, enjoy them. :)