It’s time to prettify your cupcakes! This part was insanely fun for me, probably because I got carried away with the decorating process. A lot went into these puppies!
The first thing I did here was make the little chocolate decorations for the top. I used vanilla candy melts, but you could use whatever you want for these. I’d wanted to do a pop of color originally, but I thought they might clash with the caramel cake, so I stuck with white.
I melted the candy per the instructions on the package, and put it into a squeeze bottle once it had cooled off a little.
I laid a piece of wax paper out on a baking sheet, and then “piped” out my design.
I made a couple of extras, just in case, and I ended up needing them. A few snapped before they even made it to the cupcakes. It’s okay, you can eat the mistakes! Since I made these the night before I was decorating, I stored them in the fridge overnight. Even if you’re making them the same day, you can pop them in the fridge to firm up until you need them.
Next it’s time to start on the dulce de leche, because it will need time to cool before you drizzle it over the cupcakes. I adapted this recipe from Epicurious, and I do not remember where I got the idea to add butter, but I know that wasn’t just a whim. Oh well, maybe one day it’ll come to me. Feel free to leave it out if you prefer.
DULCE DE LECHE
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp butter
Combine the whipping cream, butter, and brown sugar in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil until it is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally. It says it should take about 5 minutes, but it took longer for me.
Once it’s all combined, not pictured above, add the condensed milk.
I let it boil for a little bit, while stirring, and then reduced the heat and continued stirring until it seemed to be all mixed in. Check out that color, yum! Remove the pan from heat, I just put it on a cold burner, but you could also put it in a pot of cold water to stop it from cooking.
While that’s cooling, start on the frosting! I made the cupcakes the day before I was taking them, but didn’t want to frost until go time so they would be uber fresh! I got this recipe from Cooks.com, and it was just what I was looking for.
WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
- 6 oz white baking chocolate chopped (I used chips)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Stir white chocolate and whipping cream in a double boiler (I used a heatproof bowl over boiling water) until melted and smooth. Let cool, but not harden.
Once it had cooled, I poured the mixture into the mixer bowl and added butter and then sugar.
Beat on high until light and fluffy.
The frosting was a little less firm than I’d hoped, so I popped it in the fridge for a bit to harden before frosting the cupcakes. I didn’t want them to droop.
After it sets for a bit, you can frost. I put my Wilton 2D tip in a pastry bag, and piped from the outside of the cupcake inwards so the design rose up in the middle. Conversely, you could pipe from the inside outwards to make a rose, like I did in my Virginia Tech cupcakes.
Then I put the cupcakes in the fridge for a bit so the frosting would set before I put the warm dulce de leche on top. Also, if you have any extra frosting, it’ll keep well in the fridge. You’ll just have to thaw and stir it for a bit before using it again.
Once they were ready, I used another squeeze bottle to drizzle the dulce de leche over the tops of the cupcakes. You could use a fork or spoon for this, but usually I get carried away and splatter stuff everywhere. Squeeze bottles are much easier to control, and they’re sold in two packs so you could even double fist if you want!
You’re almost done! For the last touch, gently place your little decorative chocolate on top. Be careful with these! I snapped a couple before they even made it, one shattering spectacularly on the floor I made the middles of these designs were a little thicker than the rest of it, so I’d be able to press them down into the frosting, but still, they snap easily.
Annnnnnd, you’re done! Congrats! If you used the rest of the batter to make mini cupcakes, as I did, you can decorate them similarly. I piped the frosting into one flower shaped blob, and didn’t top with candy (although you easily could have) because there were just too darn many!
I know these were super involved, but I feel like you need all the components for them to work. The super sweet caramel is offset by the not-too-sweet white chocolate frosting, and how pretty are my little leaves?
One last thought before I leave you… I have come up with (inadvertently using the help of my friendly neighborhood test-subjects, obviously) a rating system for my desserts. This is the Evil Rating System.
What, evil? Why would I want to eat anything that’s evil?
Well, because it’s a good thing. I know I’ve told you about my coworkers saying insulting things to me about my baked goods, and various family members, by way of compliments. I realized that I could use their insults to persuade you to make something. A sugar cookie, for example, is delicious, but not evil. It will be enjoyable, but you will not ruin your diet just by looking at one. My upcoming Chocolate Salty Balls (yeah, I think I’ll keep that name), on the other hand, brought out a whole slew of insults from my coworkers, so that evil ranking (literally determined by how many people have called me or it evil, the devil, etc.) will be significantly higher.
The good news about this ranking system is it doesn’t mean that something with a lower ranking isn’t as delicious, it just means there’s less of a chance someone will yell at you for ruining their life if they eat it.
So, these cupcakes will receive an evil ranking of 4 out of 5. They were voted evil, but someone did ask if I managed to steal a little piece of heaven to put in each one, and that was kind of nice. I may have to adjust this scale as time goes on, because I don’t know what would even rank a 5, the evilest. I mean, after the stuff I heard about my next post, I’d be scared to hear anything worse! We’ll see how it works out.
Enjoy these cupcakes, everyone else did!