Friday, 1 June 2012

Love Love Love

Dulce de Leche/ Caramel Cupcakes

I'm a big fan of Valentines Day. I love cooking for people, it's my way of showing affection. Around valentines day I go COMPLETELY nutburgers. This year I made giant cookies (for neighbors and family), Ralph's cake (a traditionally delicious, but rather ugly cake, no - no pictures!) and these cupcakes (for previous work and new work people).

I really love reading The Foodie Bride. I remember a while ago, when I first subscribed, An update on her blog came through when I was just falling asleep. It was the one about croissants. It read it in my sleepy state and could picture myself exactly where she was describing almost in a dream. The sunny house, the knowledge of warm sleeping children, the quiet, and bliss, and the chaos that follows. I was SOLD. The Bride is a little too adventurous food-wise for me most of the time (I pretty much just like cheese- no funny business!), but I still love to read about what she's up to!

My sweet hearts :-). I made those using white chocolate and colouring and piped over a hundred of them! The taste wonderful, and they really compliment the Dulce de Leche. I love that I could stick little treats  into the cupcakes for people to pop out and nibble on.

Dulce de Leche/ Caramel Cupcakes
From Tracey's Culinary Adventures, originally adapted from Foodie Bride
In South Africa, Dulce de Leche is sold as 'Caramel'

3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
170 g unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Dulce de Leche/ Caramel
4 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup Canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Makes about 24 cupcakes

1) Preheat oven to 180 C
2) Whisk flour, baking powder and bicarb together in a separate bowl.
3) Cream the butter and sugar, until they are light and fluffy.
4) While beating, add the Dulce de Leche bit by bit. Beat well.
5) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.
6) Add the oil and the vanilla.
7) Now, add the dry ingredients, alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
8) Mix gently until just incorporated.
9) Pour batter into 2 lined cupcake pans, filling them all 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden, and a tested comes out clean.
10) Let them rest for 5 minutes before taking out and putting on a wire rack to cool.

Dulce de Leche/ Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
From Tracey's Culinary Adventures, originally adapted from Foodie Bride
In South Africa, Dulce de Leche is sold as 'Caramel'

4 extra-large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
340 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup Dulce de Leche/ Caramel
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Places the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl, and beat to combine.
2) Place over a pot of simmering water, and beat constantly until a thermometer reads 70 C
3) Take off the heat, and keep beating until the stiff peaks stage. Make sure the outside of the bowl is cool.
4) Keep beating, and add the butter, a bit at a time. Beat well after each addition.
5) Beat on high speed until icing is thick and smooth.
6) Finally, mix in the Dulce de Leche and vanilla.
7) For me the icing went too runny, and I had to fix it by putting it in the fridge for a while. But it worked just fine after.

These have overtaken the red velvet cupcakes as my favourite. Or maybe not.. I'll have to make both again to make sure.. And maybe just a couple more times after that. This is important business!