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Dulce de Leche Mocha Cupcakes topped with crispearls and swiss meringue buttercream

Dulce de Leche Mocha Cupcakes

These Dulce de Leche Mocha Cupcakes are filled with dulce de leche, topped with a Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Easy to make and delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Latin
Keyword cupcakes, dulce de leche, mocha
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 14 cupcakes
Calories 500 kcal
Author camila


Chocolate Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (190 grams, 6.75 oz)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (31 grams, 1.125 oz)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (107 grams, 3.8 oz)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (240 ml)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams, 7 oz.)

Dulce de Leche

  • 1 14 oz. can condensed milk (if making homemade. If not, you will need 1 1/4 cup of dulce de leche)

Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 2 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (56 grams, 1/3 cup)
  • 20 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature (283 grams, 10 oz)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams, 7 oz)
  • 1/4 cup Dulce de Leche (store-bought or homemade, recipe above)
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder


Chocolate Cupcake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a pan with cupcake liners or grease it with butter and flour.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix the oil, coffee, vinegar, vanilla and sugar.
  4. Pour the dry mixture over the wet ingredients. Whisk briefly, until incorporated.
  5. Distribute the batter evenly in cupcake pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean once inserted in the cakes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Dulce de Leche

  1. 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.
  2. My favorite way to make dulce de leche starts with an unopened can of condensed milk. Place the sealed can in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover it plus at least 2 inches.
  3. Then, bring the water to a boil and cook under pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Let the pressure release naturally and let the condensed milk can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
  5. When you open the can, it will be a thick darkened caramel inside.
  6. Place the contents in a container and put it in the fridge until cold and firm.

Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Remove the butter from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before you start to make this recipe (depending on how warm the kitchen is). We are looking for the perfect butter temperature and consistency. It shouldn’t be hard cold, and it shouldn’t be so soft that is almost melting or losing shape. Cut the butter into thin slabs and set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate or chocolate chips in a small bowl by microwaving it for 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Let it cool until no longer warm.
  3. Meanwhile, put the whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
  4. Place the bowl on top of a small pot with simmering water.
  5. Whisk the whites and sugar until they temp 140 Fahrenheit. Basically you are looking to melt the sugar granules, and also make it so the egg white is in a safe temperature to be consumed.
  6. Once you achieve that temperature, transfer the syrup to your mixer bowl.
  7. Whip with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes at medium speed, until the mixture looks white, and thicker. At this point, raise speed to high and continue to whip until fluffy and doubled in size. The meringue should have stiff peaks. It can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to obtain stiff peaks.
  8. Stop the mixer and check the peaks, so you don’t over whip it.
  9. Once the peaks are stiff, start adding the butter that should be slightly softened.
  10. Add one slab of butter at a time.
  11. Wait for one piece of butter to be incorporated before adding the next one.
  12. This whole process could take about 15 minutes. At this point, the buttercream should be thick with a frosting consistency. If not, refer to the troubleshooting below on the notes.
  13. Once the butter is all incorporated add the dulce de leche, melted and cooled down chocolate, and espresso powder to the buttercream.

  14. Then beat for another minute or until completely incorporated.
  15. Make ahead: This frosting can sit at room temperature for up to 1 day. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer, for up to 2 months. Remember to package it really well in sealed air tight containers, or in a zip loc bag, before freezing.
  16. To use it again, simply let it thaw until it comes to room temperature and beat it briefly to make it creamy again.

To assemble

  1. When the cupcakes have cooled down, use a spoon to remove the center of each cupcake.

  2. Place the dulce de leche in a piping bag and pipe in the center of each cupcake. Or simply spoon a small amount (about 2 tsp) of dulce de leche in the center of each cupcake.

  3. Top the cupcakes with the piece of cake you removed from the middle.

  4. Place the Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream in a piping bag fitted with the tip of choice.

  5. Pipe on top of the cupcakes.

  6. I topped my cupcakes with crispearls by Callebaut.


  1. The cupcakes will last up to 5 days in the fridge, well covered.

Recipe Notes

Dulce de Leche: you can use homemade dulce de leche, or make it at home. If using store-bought, you will need 1 1/4 cup of dulce de leche. This is one of my favorite Dulce de Leches in the whole world: Havanna Argentina Dulce De Leche.

Crispearls: I used crispearls by Callebaut to top the cupcakes. You can find them in these links: Milk Chocolate CrispearlsWhite Chocolate CrispearlsDark Chocolate Crispearls, Salted Caramel Crispearls.

Piping tip: This is the piping tip I used for these cupcakes: Wilton 1B Drop Flower Tip

Swiss Meringue Buttercream: I can't stress enough how important it is for the butter to be exactly at room temperature, not cold, and not too warm either. If the butter is too cold, it will form lumps in the buttercream, and if the butter is too warm, the buttercream will be soupy.

Meringue: the meringue needs to be at stiff peaks before you start adding the butter, or the buttercream won't firm up.

Troubleshooting the Swiss Meringue Buttercream: if the buttercream is too soupy and runny, it's either because the meringue wasn't stiff before adding the butter, or because the butter was too warm when you've added it. Place the bowl in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes if the buttercream isn't firming up. And then whip it again for a few minutes and that will probably solve your issue. If the buttercream doesn't firm up, it's because the meringue was too soft when you've added the butter, and there's not much that can be done at this point.

Melted chocolate: make sure the chocolate has cooled down entirely before adding it to the frosting, or it will melt the butter.

Chocolate cupcakes: these cupcakes are SUPER soft and fluffy. I recommend placing them in the fridge for an hour or so before filling with the dulce de leche and decorating.

Nutrition Facts
Dulce de Leche Mocha Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving (1 cupcake)
Calories 500
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.