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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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dulce de leche cupcakes

There's something in the water around here. It seems as if Brian and I are surrounded by friends having babies! We have officially become the only couple amongst our close Charlottesville friends who does not have a tiny addition to the family. And, it kind of freaks me out. Just a bit. We're not ready for all of that yet, but it sure does get the gears in your head turning when you're tickling those tiny toes or witnessing first giggles. Those turning gears, they're something that I was never all that sure I would experience and now that I am...wow. Mind-boggling. Brian has asked me more than once who I am and what I've done with his wife, for this whole biological clock thing was never something that either one of us gave a whole lot of merit. Well it exists, I assure you.

The arrival of these tiny humans brings along something that I can wrap my mind around...baby parties. The kind where both men and women are invited, and the focus is on good food and fun [yard] games and great friends giving advice to the new parents-to-be. I love an excuse to plan a party, and the arrival of a new being sure seems like a wonderful reason to celebrate! 

A couple of Saturdays ago I helped to plan a baby party for our good friends Tommy and Kristin. Their little girl arrives in just over a month, and we couldn't be more excited and happy for them! This party was a fiesta of sorts, decorated with bright balloons and citrus-y hues. We had carnitas tacos, and veggie tacos, and cilantro lime slaw, guacamole, black beans, and dulce de leche cupcakes. I fully intended to photograph the carnitas to share with you but, well, when you're co-hosting the party it is tough to remember to pick up your camera. I did manage to capture some images of the cupcakes, so they will have to do. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

These cupcakes come from Joy, who never ceases to amaze me with the cleverness of her recipes. If I think of something, chances are Joy's already done it. And every single recipe I've ever tried of hers has been a winner, so I typically don't question her methods. This was no exception. Seriously, who could go wrong with cream cheese and dulce de leche whipped into a buttercream frosting? It is one of the best things you'll ever taste, I promise.

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

from joy the baker

makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche (I used canned, Nestle brand, dulce de leche. Not the best, and next time I'll find a better brand, but it still worked well in the frosting.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until fluffy and pale brown, about 3 minutes.   Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one egg.  Beat on medium for one minute.  Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute between each addition.  Stop the bowl and scrape down the sides as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture.  Beat on low speed and slowly drizzle in the buttermilk.  Beat until just incorporated.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed until just incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and finish incorporating with a spatula.  Try not to over mix.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake pans, filling each liner about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.  Let rest in the cupcake pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cupcakes should be completely cooled before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until very soft and pliable.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter and dulce de leche.  Beat on medium speed until well incorporated.  Stop the mixer and add the salt and powdered sugar.  Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color.  
  2. Use a large frosting tip to swirl the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes.
  3. Garnish with fleur de sel, or coarse sea salt.

For more pictures of Tommy + Kristin's baby party, visit the AHPhoto blog!

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Reader Comments (25)

Andrea, your pictures are so adorable! I really like your blog as a whole, also the recipes and the writing. I will definitely try to bake something from it soon, not yet sure if I will go for the banana date bread or these cupcakes first...Regarding the dulce the leche: You wrote you were not entirely satisfied with the brand. I recently made it myself with milk and sugar and it worked pretty well. I got the recipe from that site: http://www.popular-traditional-argentina-food.com/dulce_de_leche/recipes.html. I'm sorry if you knew about that ... just forget my comment.

05.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

i love your spread! so cute. and these cupcakes look divine. i am a sucker for ANYTHING dulce de leche or caramelly for that matter....i have seen these on Joys blog as well - definitely in line for the next bday treats i make! thank you :)

05.26.2011 | Unregistered Commentercory

@Sarah : Thank you! I thought about making my own, but just wanted to cut a step out of the process, especially with all of the other tasks that day. :)
@Cory : Thank you!

05.26.2011 | Registered CommenterAndrea

those look amazing


Le Kiss Kiss- Click Here!

05.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

your pictures are so gorgeous. wish i lived closer so I could sample one. they look awesome!

05.26.2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandi

your photos are gorgeous!! these cupcakes sound sinfully good! :)

babies are so sweet!! but they are a lot of work when they are your own. ;) worth every bit of it but still don't expect to sleep soundly again! hee hee. hope all your friends are enjoying their new bundles of joy. the party looks fab.

05.26.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjenna

Hey, thanks for writing about the question-of-being-ready-for-a-baby situation! That is almost exactly where my husband and I are in life (but still a little bit earlier on the learning curve because not ALL our friends have babies YET and my gears are really turning, just creaking forward a little now and then :)) and it is nice to hear insights from others in similar frames of mind/life stages. I also LOVE your party pictures, these and the previous ones with the grown-up popsicles. Understated, elegant, classy, gorgeous! I almost want to make your beautiful spreads my computer wallpapers! :)

05.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon


05.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

These are amazing! I wish I could grab one (or two?) through the screen. ;)
Brazilians looooove dulce de leche and I am no exception. :D

05.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Scarpin

Hi, Love your cupcakes. Regarding the dulce de leche, make your own in a crockpot. It is so easy and it tastes sooooooooo good. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

05.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

Wow, these look great! The photos are spectacular! Thanks for posting the recipe :)

05.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie G

@Francesca, @Brandi, : Thank you!

@Jenna : I've heard that nasty rumor about sleep... :)

@Sharon : Thank you! I was where you are about a year ago...just wait! :)

@Brenda, @Patricia : Thanks!

@Ingrid : Oh! I'd love to hear more about how to make it in a crock pot! The whole boiling sweetened condensed milk in the can worries me a little...

05.27.2011 | Registered CommenterAndrea

@Katie : Thank you!

05.27.2011 | Registered CommenterAndrea

These do look divine. Hanging around babies can make one broody as well :-)

05.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Butterfield

Hi! These look really delicious!

05.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatarina

Love the recipe if your looking for easy and amazing Ducle de Leche Jamie Oliver has a recipe that he uses in his Banoffee Pie. Basically you take a can of sweetened condensed milk and boil it in the can until it gets all carmely and delicious....give it a try its so good!

05.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

These look totally amazing! Your photos are beautiful!

05.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I LOVE dulce de leche...and your version looks beautiful. I also love Joy the Baker (who couldn't) and I must have somehow missed this recipe of hers. Thank goodness I found it from YOU! Thanks!

Cute!! The cupcakes look great and the spread is adorable. <3

06.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSo Very Domestic

These are beautiful cupcakes!

Those cupcakes look like absolute perfection. You had me at "buttercream" -- I've experimented with different cupcake recipes from my recipe club and will definitely be adding this one to my arsenal. Yum!

06.14.2011 | Unregistered Commentervirginia osborne

I second that-the biological clock is so real! I daydream of little toes and first smiles...

06.16.2011 | Unregistered Commenterfaith

love joy and LOVE your beautiful cupcakes! happy weekend! :)

06.17.2011 | Unregistered Commentermy spatula

Just found your beautiful blog and I'm in love!

Could I translate this into a cake recipe? if so would I change anything? Sorry, so new at baking!

09.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

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