Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Chocolate truffle cupcakes with dulche de leche buttercream topping

I was away on a hen do at the weekend and was asked to bring along the baking for the group. The bride-to-be has a huge chocolate addiction (makes mine looks positively tame!) and so everything had a chocolate theme. These cupcakes were as chocolately as it gets. I was going to do a chocolate topping but felt it needed some contrast so opted for dulche de leche buttercream topping which is incredibly moreish and works really well.

To start you need to make the truffle filling. For this you need to heat 80ml double cream (I do this in the microwave for minute or so til just bubbling) and then add 200g of dark chocolate broken into small pieces, together with 2 tsps coffee powder, 1 tbsp icing sugar and 3 tsps irish cream liquor (you can leave this out or put in a liquor of your taste). The hot cream will melt the chocolate and stir it all together until you have a smooth mixture. Then place this in fridge to set (leave it a good hour so that it is nice and firm).

Next get on with the cakes. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line 24 muffin trays with paper liners (this recipe makes a lot of cakes but you can halve it if you don't need so many). Next get all your ingredients together:

150g dark chocolate chocolate, chopped fine
100g cocoa powder
300ml hot coffee
225g bread flour (creates really moist and yet dense cakes)
340g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
12 tbsps vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsps white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the chocolate and cocoa powder into a large bowl.

Pour over the hot coffee.

Stir everything together to make a smooth mixture and then allow to cool.

Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar (don't worry you don't taste it) and vanilla together.

Add this to the cooled chocolate mixture and blend well.

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix together and then finally add this to the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the cases (only fill about three quarters of the cases- if there is some left over you can always do another round of cakes when this lot are cooked and the tins are free).

Remove the chocolate ganache (truffle mixture) from the fridge- it should be completely set.

Drop a teaspoon of the ganache into each cupcake- use one spoon to scoop and another to push it off that spoon into the cake. This will sink into the cake while it is cooking so it is completely enveloped with cake.

Put in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes. They should be just firm to touch when they are done. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile make the topping. The dulche de leche is absolutely amazing- you can buy it ready made but it is much nicer (and cheaper!) to make it yourself. It is basically boiled milk and sugar so you can do it with the raw ingredients but the easiest way is to use a can of condensed milk (you can use the light version if you want it slightly less calorific!) Pierce the can at the top with a can opener and place in a saucepan (holes facing up!) and fill with hot water until about a centimetre below the top of the can.

Boil gently for about 2.5 hours topping up with water where necessary. About 1.5 hours gives you a fairly liquid dulce de leche and about 4 hours gives you a set dulche de leche. Around 2.5 hours gives you a good consistency for this recipe.

Let this cool in the can. Meanwhile cream together 175g soft unsalted butter with 300g icing sugar using an electric mixer (start slow or the icing sugar will puff up everywhere!)

Add 2 tbsps double cream and 1 tsp vanilla and continue beating til smooth.

Add the prepared dulche de leche sauce to taste- start with half the can and keep adding until it is the taste you like. You can add the whole can to start with. Mix again so you have a smooth mix.

Use this to ice the cakes. It can make it easier to spread if you put it in the fridge first for half an hour.
Decorate the top as you like. The centre will still be a gooey truffle which gives a really intense hit (didn't get a chance to photograph one cut open!) Very rich and with a real chocolate hit.

Til soon....

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