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Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting

Spending 2 hours making a dessert is more than I’m usually willing to commit to.  But if you’ve got a special birthday party, you’re trying to get a raise, or you really pissed somebody off… these may do the trick.

mex-choc-cupcake-vertical

I doctored a chocolate cake mix with cayenne pepper and cinnamon and turned store-bought dulce de leche into a super yummy frosting.  And there’s sprinkles.  Cupcakes are NEVER FINISHED UNTIL THERE ARE SPRINKLES.  Life lesson, folks.

mex-choc-cupcake-stand

Give it a try!  It takes 2 hours… but at the end you have cupcakes!  That’s probably a better outcome than you’ll get with almost anything else you can spend that time doing, amiright?


Print Recipe
Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Frosting
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Frosting
Instructions
Make cupcakes
  1. Put all cupcake ingredients into a bowl and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat for another 2 minutes.
  2. Fill cupcake pan with liners and divide batter to make 24 cupcakes. Bake according to box directions, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  3. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make frosting and decorate
  1. Beat cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add dulce de leche and beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Put frosting in a piping bag or zipper bag and store in refrigerator to firm up until ready to use.
  2. When cupcakes are completely cool, snip off the end of the bag of frosting to create a hole approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake.
  3. Sprinkle frosting with sprinkles of your choice (I used cinnamon sprinkles and chocolate crunchy pearls). Sprinkle with a small amount of fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt.
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clean-cake-side

Orange Almond Cardamom Cake

I was feeling fancy and needed something to put on a buffet table at a party (Drag Race All Stars premiere!), so I dug an extremely expired cake mix out of the pantry and whipped up this paragon of elegance and beauty.  I was worried that being more than a year past the “use by” date would affect the leavening in the cake mix, but you can see that wasn’t an issue.

This cake turned out really well – moist and delicate with a perfect, subtle balance of flavors.

close-up-crumb

I love how the inside of this cake looks — tender crumbs mixed with flecks of ground almonds and a little bit of orange zest.  So pretty!  My whole house smelled good after I baked this.

Because a bundt cake generally doesn’t have a lot of icing on it, the cake has to be awesome all on it’s own.  And this one really, really is. But it’s always better to add just a little more sugar in the form of an icing glaze!  This is a quick one to mix together – the only trick is to make sure you get the consistency right.  Too thin and it runs right off the cake, too thick and it’s goopy and doesn’t drip down the cake in a pretty way.  I test the consistency by draping a line of frosting across my fingertip (because then I can lick it off later) and if it stays pretty solid for a few seconds you’re good to go.

close-up-wet-icing

I’m glad I get invited to so many events — it gives me the perfect excuse to bake.

Oh.

I think I just figure out why I get invited to so many events.

Well, it’s a win-win.

clean-cake-side
This beauty was only outshone by the Drag Race contestants themselves.  And I’m okay with being shown up by drag queens.

Try making this one yourself – it’s a perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea.


Print Recipe
Orange Almond Cardamom Cake
This doctored cake mix is moist and flavorful with a perfect, subtle balance of flavors. Also, it makes you look like Martha fucking Stewart. View recipe video at https://youtu.be/sJOxG7ZBY14
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Cake
Icing glaze
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Cake
Icing glaze
Instructions
Make the cake
  1. Put cake mix, cardamom and ground almonds in a mixing bowl.
  2. Zest 1 orange into the mixing bowl. Juice 3 oranges into a measuring cup and top up with water (if necessary) to equal 1 1/4 cups.
  3. Add orange juice, vegetable oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs to bowl. Mix batter according to package directions.
  4. (Optional) Taste batter -- risking almost certain death due to raw eggs -- and add orange oil (or orange extract) to taste.
  5. Use baking spray with flour to grease a bundt pan. Fill pan with cake batter and tap pan on counter a few times to remove any air pockets.
  6. Bake according to directions on cake package, or until toothpick inserted in center comes our clean(ish). Baking may take slightly longer than expected on the package due to extra added ingredients.
  7. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and let stand until completely cool.
Make the icing
  1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Zest orange, putting half in bowl with sugar and setting half aside for decoration.
  2. Juice half of orange into bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in cardamom.
  3. The icing should be thick enough to hold a line on your finger for a few seconds. If icing is too thick, add more orange juice. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  4. Spoon icing glaze over the cake, trying to distribute evenly. Sprinkle the top of the wet icing with remaining orange zest. Allow icing to dry before serving.
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