Two years ago, I shared my old apartment landing with three law students. With their intensive classes and my busy work schedule, we barely crossed paths, but every once in a while, I’d knock on their door with a tray of brownies or leave a paper plate of cookies covered in tin foil on their welcome mat. Always grateful for the sweet study snacks, they usually inquired how I was doing and made polite conversation, despite their baggy eyes and tired smiles.
When summer arrived, they each arranged a three-month internship in a different part of the country. Before leaving, one of them texted me while I ran errands. “Hey i wanted 2 thank u for all the treats this year. If ur ever bk in town or so cal give me a ring. Hope u enjoy the cupcakes.”
I arrived home to find a plastic bag hanging off my doorknob. Although I fully expected homemade treats, baked from a box mix and topped with frosting from a tub, I found four expensive gourmet cupcakes they bought from a new boutique downtown instead!
I immediately raced into my kitchen, giddily grabbing a fork and sampling each flavor. Despite the sweet and classic flavors of the coconut, red velvet, and mint chocolate ones, the dulce de leche completely captivated my taste buds. I slowly savored bites of the desserts over the next few days, but I saved the rest of my favorite dulce de leche one for last.
Had my law student neighbors not gifted and introduced me to those cupcakes, I probably never would have entered the boutique downtown and experienced their other incredible options. So I’d like to start paying that favor forward to you as readers!
As a food blogger—and a regular human being—I’ve had the pleasure of trying lots of products, and I’ve started to work with some of those brands to share their goodies with you too. You’ll see a few more sponsored recipe posts and giveaways in the future, but I absolutely promise that they’re for products and brands I personally love and enjoy myself.
How does that sound?
Now, back to dulce de leche… After two years, I finally decided it was time to recreate that cupcake myself. However, I put my own little spin on it and swapped out their somewhat bland vanilla base for my favorite dark chocolate cupcakes instead!
Positively indulgent, my Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cupcakes are moist and rich, with the perfect balance of complementary light and dark flavors. Thick creamy frosting sits atop the tender little cakes, and both parts are so addictive that you just might find yourself reaching for seconds… But don’t feel guilty—they’re low fat, low calorie and secretly skinny!
The cupcake batter is very easy and straightforward. There’s no chocolate to melt and no butter to cream—just lots of cocoa powder and decadent goodness! To achieve their tender texture, you must alternate between adding the dry ingredients and milk to the egg mixture.
Alternating additions are mandatory! They prevent over-mixing and over-developing the gluten strands, which would turn the cupcakes tough and dense. I promise the extra 90 seconds of switching and stirring are worth it!
Although it doesn’t matter for most of my other cupcake recipes, metallic liners work much better for these. Even with generously coating paper liners with cooking spray, the cupcakes still stick to their sides like superglue. So for the best results, use metallic liners and still lightly mist with cooking spray.
Note: Most craft stores sell metallic liners, but I found mine at Walmart. They stock a small selection of their “No Fade” cupcake liners on the baking aisle, and they come in quite a few fun colors and patterns!
You only need 3 ingredients for the frosting: Greek yogurt, dulce de leche, and instant pudding mix. That’s right, no butter and no powdered sugar! Greek yogurt is already thick and packed with protein, and the dry instant pudding mix helps it thicken even further. After chilling for 2 hours, the frosting achieves that perfect piping consistency. Swirl it on top of the cupcakes for that classic bakery look!
These decadent Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cupcakes are guaranteed to satisfy any chocolate or cupcake lovers, but it can be our little secret how simple they are to make! With just a few common ingredients and a couple of easy steps, you can whip up a batch that rivals any upscale bakery’s offerings. Plus they’re perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or “just because” chocolate pick-me-ups!
Besides, you can never have too much chocolate… Or too many cupcakes!