Monday, 30 July 2012

Toffee Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

This idea came about from looking at a recipe for banoffee cupcakes.  I do not like banoffee, because I don't like bananas.  But the idea of having toffee in cakes and then using some dulce de leche somewhere on top sounded quite nice.  Then I found a recipe for dulce de leche buttercream, which looked terribly pretty and seemed quite popular, so why not do that to top my cupcakes.  All good in theory.  Not so much in practice.

The cakes themselves are fine.  They came out lovely, since I was working off my usual cupcake recipe, but replaced caster sugar with brown and added bits of toffee to them.  The buttercream though...just didn't work.  It tastes very nice but it was far too runny despite following the recipe.  I even tried adding some icing sugar and putting it in the fridge for a while.  It did firm it up a bit but not enough.  So instead of pretty swirls I got flat tops.  I was very disappointed.

And just to complain about the recipe some more, I only made a half batch of the buttercream and it was still far, far too much!  I honestly don't know what the rest of the buttercream would have been used for with the full amount since the original recipe only made 16 cakes!  I have also decided I don't like American measurements.  Cups I can just about deal with since I have a set if I really need to use them, but 'sticks' of butter just annoys me.  I had to go and find out what a 'stick' is because I don't have sticks, I have a giant tub.  Bah.

You may be able to tell I am a bit annoyed with the buttercream.  It's not really the recipe's fault.  This is the second time I've made a buttercream that has egg whites in it and both times they came out much runnier than I think is intended.  Up until I added the butter it was fine and terribly pretty.  Very, very glossy.  Maybe there should be less butter?  And I may have overdone it with adding nearly all my dulce de leche, but I was struggling to taste it in the buttercream.

Speaking of dulce de leche, this was my first time making it.  I intended just to buy it but couldn't see it in the supermarket.  I only learnt upon returning home that Carnation calls their dulce de leche 'Caramel'.  Not wanting to go out again, I just made my own by cooking condensed milk.

Taste wise, they got a big thumbs up.  The boyfriend ranked them quite high on the lists all the other cakes I've made him try.  The buttercream is very, very sweet, though probably would taste better if it was the right consistency.  It was a bit of a shame a lot of the toffee sank to the bottom so I'll try and make amendments to the recipe to fix that.

Recipe - Makes 12 Cupcakes:
  • 100g/4oz butter
  • 100g/4oz light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g/4oz self-raising flour
  • About 70g chewy toffees
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with 12 cases. 
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl or jug and then add to the butter mix a little at a time.  Mix in after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold it all in.
  5. Spoon a teaspoon of mixture into each of the cake cases.
  6. Cut the toffees up into small pieces, put 12 pieces aside.
  7. Add the toffee to the remaining cake mix and fold in.
  8. Spoon into the cake cases.
  9. Place one of the reserved pieces of toffee on top of each cake.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  11. Cool on a rack before adding the buttercream.

Dulce de Leche Buttercream - adapted from Bakers Royale
I can't guarantee this will make 'stiff' buttercream.  I honestly don't know what I did wrong when I did it. 
  • 1 egg white
  • 60g/1.5oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • 4 - 8 tbsp dulce de leche (tips for making it if you can't find any found here
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  1. Combine the egg white with the sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk the mixture continuously until it reaches 65°C/150°F (this does take a while).
  3. Remove from the heat and using an electric whisk, whisk until the mixture has cooled and doubled in size.  It should form stiff peaks when you remove the whisk from it and will be REALLY glossy.
  4. Add the butter a little bit at a time, beating until incorporated.
  5. Add the salt and vanilla and mix.
  6. Add the dulce de leche a bit at a time and mix.  Add as much or as little as you like until you get the taste to your satisfaction. (I had to use quite a bit to taste it.)
  7. Cover the cakes in the buttercream.  If you have a stiff enough buttercream, pipe swirls on with a closed star icing tip (that's what I wanted to do).
  8. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles.

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