Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Hello friends! Check out my Dulce de Leche Cupcakes! They are part of my last week’s Dulce de Leche dessert project, where I made Dulce de Leche Donuts, Dulce de Leche Cake, and then these cupcakes.

dulce de leche cupcakes with donuts on top

I can’t really put into words how much I love dulce de leche, so I am going to let this recipe speak for me.

These Dulce de Leche Cupcakes are topped with a cinnamon and sugar mixture before being baked, which gives them this crackling sugary top underneath that frosting goodness.

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vanilla cupcakes topped with a cinnamon and sugar mixture and baked

That’s because cinnamon and dulce de leche go hand in hand together to form one of the best flavor combos in the world!

dulce de leche cupcakes topped with dulce de leche donuts in a tin lid

Have you ever tried making dulce de leche at home? Well, I will tell you, it’s so easy to make homemade dulce de leche, you will never want to stop! I am from Brazil and we REALLY like our dulce de leche down there, and when I go there I like to buy the artisan dulce de leches because nothing compares to them. But making dulce de leche at home from a can of condensed milk makes for a pretty good substitute.

Also, one of my FAVORITE dulce de leches in the whole entire world would be Havanna, an Argentinian dulce de leche, richer than Kim Kardashian. Seriously, you will not see me making a Kim Kardashian reference very often, because I know nothing about her besides the fact that she is very rich (and has a big booty 👀). Oh and she is married to Kanye West. Ok maybe I know 3 things about Kim Kardashian.

Anyway, to the point. Let’s make dulce de leche!

How to make Dulce de Leche at home

Simply start with a can of condensed milk. Now, there are some options here.

  1. Making dulce de leche in the oven– Pour the inside of the condensed milk can in an oven-proof pan, and bake over a water bath for about 2-3 hours, stirring in between, covered with foil, at 350F.
  2. Making dulce de leche on the stove top– there are two ways to make dulce de leche on the stove top with a sealed can of condensed milk.
  • First is to use a pressure cooker, which is the fastest way. Place sealed can in a pressure cooker full of water, covering the can by at least 2 inches. Cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally and let can and water both cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
  • If you just want to use a regular pot, make sure it’s a large pot of water, where the can will be submerged the whole time. Boil sealed can for about 2 1/2 hours. Let can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.

Regardless of the method you choose to make your dulce de leche, make sure to always let it cool down before handling it. And leave it in the fridge for a few hours before piping so dulce de leche will be cold and have proper texture.

Down below on the recipe I will use the pressure cooker method to make dulce de leche!

dulce de leche cupcakes topped with dulce de leche donuts

So, after you make the batter of the vanilla cupcakes, sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar over the cupcakes before baking.

two images left pouring cupcake batter in cupcake tins, and right image sprinkling sugar cinnamon mixture over cupcake batter

The cupcakes will come out like this with a crackling sugary top, cinnamony and delicious!

cupcakes in cupcake tin baked with cinnamon sugar topping

Once the cupcakes have cooled down, time to assemble!

Remove the center of each cupcake.

removing the center of the cupcake with a spoon

Set the cake you removed aside so you can use it later to top the cupcake.

Place the dulce de leche in a piping bag to make this easier and neater, but you can also use a spoon to place some dulce de leche in the center of each cupcake.

piping dulce de leche in the center of each cupcake

Now place the top back on the cupcakes.

putting a top on the filled cupcakes

Just take a look at that middle!

dulce de leche cupcakes cut in half

Here is how I made the Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting for the cupcakes.

making dulce de leche cream cheese frosting
  1. Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer. Make sure they are at room temperature.
  2. Cream at medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy and incorporated.
  3. Add dulce de leche. Cream for another minute.
  4. Now add the sifted powdered sugar, and mix on low until completely incorporated.
  5. Once powdered sugar is mixed in, cream on medium-high for another minute. Add vanilla extract.

Troubleshooting the frosting:

If the frosting is too runny, feel free to add some more sifted powdered sugar. However, consider if the issue is because the butter and cream cheese are too soft, due to the temperature of your kitchen. If that’s the case, place the mixer bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes or so, remove and cream again.

If the frosting is too stiff, add some milk to it, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.

I made a swirl frosting with dulce de leche and the Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting.

How to make swirl frosting with Dulce de Leche

dulce de leche swirled frosting
  1. Pipe a line of dulce de leche on a piece of plastic.
  2. Spread some of the Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese frosting on top of it.
  3. Roll the plastic wrap onto itself like a log.
  4. Place the log inside a piping bag fitted with the tip of choice.

My tip of choice today was the Ateco 829, which is one of my favorite tips ever, and I am linking it below, because I constantly get asked what tip this is! It’s such a phenomenal tip! This tip is huge, perfect to frost cupcakes, or pipe decorations on top of cakes!

dulce de leche cupcakes with donut holes on top

And, as you know, I topped my Dulce de Leche cupcakes with these Dulce de Leche Donuts.

If you like these Dulce de Leche cupcakes, be sure to check my other dulce de leche recipes:

dulce de leche cupcakes on top of a wooden board

Here are some more cupcake recipes you may like:

dulce de leche cupcakes on a silver tray

I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and eating it!

dulce de leche cupcakes

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and make sure to tag me if you make one of my recipes, and let me know if you have any questions, or comments! I am always open to talk, help, learn, and be a part of this amazing community of bakers! Thank you for reading and following along!

dulce de leche cupcakes with donuts on top

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Camila Hurst
These Dulce de Leche Cupcakes are filled with dulce de leche, with a swirl of dulce de leche and dulce de leche cream cheese frosting, topped with a dulce de leche donut.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Latin
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 550 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour  191 grams, 6.75 oz
  • teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  fine sea salt
  • cup  granulated sugar  200 grams, 7.1 oz
  • 1/2  cup  unsalted butter softened 113 grams, 4 oz
  • large eggs room temperature
  • teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/2  cup  milk room temperature 118 ml
Cupcake Topping (pre-bake)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50 grams, 1.76 oz
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
Dulce de Leche Filling
  • 2-14 oz cans of condensed milk to make dulce de leche some will also be used in the frosting
Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese softened (2 oz, 56.7 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (3 oz, 85 grams)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 9 oz, 255 grams
  • 1/4 cup dulce de leche 3.97 oz, 112.5 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line 12 cupcake tins with paper or grease with butter and flour.
  • Start by sifting the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter at medium speed, for about 1 minute.
  • Add sugar and cream for another 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined before adding the next egg.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  • Now it’s time to slowly add the milk. Stir to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients and fold until incorporated.
  • Pour batter evenly onto cupcake tins.
  • Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over each cupcake.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating in between to bake evenly.
  • You may need a couple more minutes. Check if cupcakes are ready when you press it gently on top of the cupcakes and they spring back.
  • Let cupcakes cool down before filling and frosting.
Dulce de leche filling
  • You can use pre-made dulce de leche, or make it at home. To make dulce de leche at home, you take many different approaches. Check the post above to read 3 different approaches on how to make dulce de leche from a can of condensed milk.
  • My favorite way to make dulce de leche starts with an unopened can of condensed milk. Place sealed can in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover it plus at least 2 inches.
  • Then, bring the water to a boil and cook under pressure for 30 minutes.
  • Let pressure release naturally and let can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can. You can cook 2 cans at the same time.
  • When you open the can, it will be a thick darkened caramel inside.
  • Place contents in a container and put it in the fridge until cold and firm.
Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Cream at medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add dulce de leche. Cream for another 30 seconds, scrape the bowl to incorporate.
  • With the mixer off, add sifted powdered sugar.
  • Mix on low until combined.
  • Raise speed to medium-high and cream for another minute.
  • Add vanilla and mix.
  • If frosting seems too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar, or make sure your kitchen isn’t too hot, because it could just be that the butter and cream cheese are too soft. If that’s the case, pop the bowl of frosting in the fridge for 5 minutes, remove and whip again.
  • If the frosting seems too stiff, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
To assemble
  • Use a spoon to remove the center of each cupcake.
  • Place dulce de leche in a piping bag, pipe some dulce de leche in the center. Top with the cake you removed from the center.
To make the swirl frosting
  • Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter.
  • Pipe, or spread with a spatula, one thin layer of dulce de leche over the piece of plastic wrap.
  • Pipe, or spread with a spatula, some Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese frosting on top of the dulce de leche.
  • Roll the mixture into a log.
  • Place the log inside of a piping bag fitted with your favorite piping tip.
  • Pipe frosting over cupcakes.
  • I also used these Dulce de Leche Donuts to top these cupcakes.
Storage
  • Cupcakes will store nicely for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Notes

You will have some leftover dulce de leche most likely. You can store it in the freezer for up to 2 months, or in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
Keyword cupcakes, dulce de leche

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These cupcakes were INCREDIBLE! I am a very novice baker and they turned out perfectly. This was also my first time making the dulce de leche in the instant pot, and my first time making donuts at all. Everything was delicious. I made these for a birthday party and all the guests were in love with this recipe. A true crowd pleaser. The recipe was actually quite simple but really impressed.

  2. Hi. I want to make these for my niece. I am limited with time though. I will make the cupcakes the day before. I was wondering I could make the frosting the day before too, cover and keep at room temp and pipe them the next day. Thoughts?

    1. The cupcakes can be made the day before and could sit on the counter, covered for a day. However, the frosting should not sit on the counter, it needs to be refrigerated because cream cheese is perishable. If you make the frosting the day before, you’d have to refrigerate it, then the next day, you’d have to wait for it to come to room temperature, give it a whip to make it creamy again and then you could pipe over the cupcakes.

  3. Hello!
    I’m just wondering why you use both butter and oil in the cake version of this recipe, but only use butter in the cupcake version? I’ve read that oil makes cupcakes more moist so I’m just wondering why the difference between the two recipes? Thanks!

    1. I add a bit of oil to the cake batter to make it super moist. Sometimes I do add oil to some cupcake recipes, if I feel like it could use some extra moisture. This vanilla cupcake sponge is super moist though, so you’ll be fine with just the butter!

  4. Hi Camila

    I love your recipes I have tried many so far. Could you tell me what did you put on top of the icing? Looks like a small donut or something ?

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