The “I’m A Good Friend, I Swear!” Cupcakes – Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes


Once upon a time, when I had a job working with a few unpleasant people, I had the luck that a certain cupcake chain wanted to partner up with us. My supervisor told me to email a particular person and schedule a meeting with him. You see, my position was sort of like a business developer, except with none of the fun tasks of developing. Or social media. Or writing. Or web developing. Or anything I was interested in.

WHATEVER. That’s beside the point. This guy was part of the C-Suite of his company and was supremely kind to me. The brief few minutes I had with him, he treated me like a human until my supervisor and social media person came in to commandeer the meeting. We joked about food, and I mentioned my baking blog, where he feigned polite interest and talked to me about cupcakes. He smiled and told me “I’m Uruguayan, so my favorite is the Dulce de Leche cupcake”. My heart opened up and poured out that I’m a first-generation Portuguese-American, fluent in the language and that I feel a kinship with other first generations / immigrants.

We had a moment, okay? I’m a softie with immigrant stories.

After our meeting, he gifted to us more cupcakes than a small office could reasonably eat. I pointed out the cupcakes as he announced their flavors. I locked my attention on the flavor of note.

I realized, holy shit, I’ve never had a dulce de leche cupcake. How could I call myself a cake eating bitch with such a gap in my gastro-adventuring?

These cupcakes were jumbo sized, but I pushed myself through one because my momma didn’t raise a cupcake eating quitter!!

Flavor-wise, the confection fell a little short; it was all sugar and palm kernel oil shortening. The case base was vanilla, which in theory sounds perfect since Alfajores have a vanilla-based shortbread cookie… In theory, the summation of its parts should be excellent, yet it fell flat.

You know what this needs? Chocolate, baby.

Maybe I’m just some tacky-ass chocolate loving bitch. Whatever.

I ended up daydreaming about eating dulce de leche cupcakes for WEEKS (read: three days). Nothing could release me from the amalgamated machinations of cooked sugar milk dancing in my mind.

So, when one of my childhood friends decided to come over on a weekend, and I figured, WELL now is as good of a time as any to bake up these mofos, substituting the vanilla my ingenious chocolate base.

I excitedly tell her my concoction, and she tells me “I can’t eat chocolate since it’s processed in factories with nuts.”


I figured, FUCK IT, I’ll make the chocolate cupcakes, but follow the recipe until I add the chocolate. It’ll be okay! It’s going to be coffee based, and that’s not so bad… Right?? Right????

Spoiler: It was not okay.


I was inspired by these cupcakes from Baker by Nature, but I can’t say I really followed any part of the recipe since I was being a cheap farthead, and wanted to save on butter by using Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake. It works so well as a whole cake! I mean, it comes out kind of short, but that’s due to my uncalibrated oven of death and doom, and less due to the recipe or my ineptitude. Either way, it makes a bitchin’ cake, so I figured, as cupcakes, it would work the same.

I mean… they’re OKAY. I did something wrong, but who knows what. I’ll give you guys the recipe because I’m sure it’s like 99% my error, and not the truffle-hunting, dark-cacao-powder-munching, pretty-perfect Ina Garten.

Chocolate cupcakes with Dulce De Leche buttercream

Serves: ~20-ish or 2 drunk friends

Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Ina says “use the best” I use Hersey’s on sale, w/e)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR 1 cup whole milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice (let it sit for like 2 minutes before use)
  • 1/2 cup veg / corn oil
  • 2 eggeroos (typical store eggs, friends)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (or be a cheap coffee-illiterate fool like me and use instant coffee.)

Instructions for cake:

  1. Preheat that oven to 350F and line two cupcake trays with liners. You know, the cute stuff. 😏

  2. In a large bowl, sift your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Put it to the side. We will come back to you, bb.

  3. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine either your pure and perfect buttermilk or the unholy union of milk + lemon you have fermenting in a cup, with veg / corn oil, eggseroos and vanilla. It’s gonna look like straight garbage. Embrace the trash that is life!!

  4. Dump the dry ingredients in batches and mix it with the wet ingredients on low. Don’t try to go fast. Shit will fly all over the damn place, and you’re going to be covered and sob from lack of cake. Life is hard enough. Save the cake!
    Scrape the sides of the bowl if you need. I mean, you probably will need, but I’m just trying to be polite and not force you into doing anything.

  5. HERE’S THE FUN PART. Take your hot coffee (or microwaved water with instant coffee granules stirred in) and slowly pour it into the batter while the paddle is on low. It’s going to look sloshy and kind of weird.

  6. Once well mixed, pour everything into your lined tins and bake them for like ~25 minutes or until they spring to the touch, or a toothpick comes out clean. Chocolate cakes & cupcakes are difficult to gauge their doneness on sight since a burnt cake still looks like chocolate. 😭😵

  7. Once they’ve cooled in their pans for 10 minutes, take ’em out and have them cool off on a cooling rack. Admire how cute they are!! Unless your cakies decided to sink…… and look sad…… and deflated….. OH GOD, WHERE DID I GO WRONG. IT ALWAYS WORKS IN CAKE FORM. WHY INA, WHY…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ingredients for Dulce de Leche Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 egg yolk {Don’t use the whole egg! You’re gonna f’ up like me!!!}
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ~1 – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 can condensed milk

Instructions for buttercream:

  1. Strap your asses in guys, we’re going for a ride. Remove the label from the condensed milk can, and put it in a pot large enough to fill it with enough water to cover the can by an inch. Bring that sucker to a rolling boil. Now leave it tf alone for 3 hours. Yes. Three. Hours. Do not walk away. Do not take a nap. Do nothing else but sit in the kitchen and baby the shit out of your pot by adding water to it when the level goes low.

  2. After spending 3 hours getting sauced with your friend on vinho verde, use tongs (or those jar grabbers) to remove the can. Let it cool for another hour, crack that sucker open, and feast upon its innards with a spoon… but NOT TOO MUCH. You still have to put some in the buttercream!

  3. After your tears of despair have finally washed out the mixing bowl, start beating the butter with the paddle attachment until light and creamy.

  4. Add in your one egg yolk and beat until it looks ruined. You gud.

  5. Add in the vanilla, and start scooping the powdered sugar out in spoonfuls, always scraping the bowl to get all of that bakers’ cocaine mixed in.

  6. Put your coffee powder in a little bowl, and add like three drops of water. It’s just enough to make it liquid! Don’t go making a whole espresso out if this. Pour it into your sugar-butter-crack.

  7. While still beating, add in the dulce in by the spoonful. You want to let it beat in properly without melting the butter (like I did 😐). Pipe the buttercream on, add some sprinks and GO WILD BABY EAT THEM UP BY THE FISTFUL. NO SHAAAAAME.

Yes I have two kinds of condensed milk in my house.

It could be darker, but this is roughly the color you want your dulce de leche to be.
Get at it with those blurry pics. 😎

So, like, my buttercream started to melt because the condensed milk was still warmish… My advice, is make the dulce de leche the day before. 😫

And for no reason whatsoever, I made melon pops following Leite’s Culinaria plus white rum 😎.

Just gotta enjoy the fucking summer, babes. 💋


5 thoughts on “The “I’m A Good Friend, I Swear!” Cupcakes – Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

  1. You always make me laugh! I started at this line “for WEEKS (read: three days)” and was seriously going by the last. I think you just need to keep experimenting because now I’m not going to be able to get Dulce de Leche cupcakes off my mind!!

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