June 10, 2007

Choco-leche Cupcakes Parfaits - Where did I fail?

Okay my foodie friends -- especially those of you with baking backgrounds -- help me out here...

Where did I go wrong?

I started with Shawnda's sinful celebration of refined sugar.

I planned to take it to work. One my colleagues is moving on, and we intended to commemorate the event as we always do... with obscene amounts of food. What's a few thousand calories among friends?

Since the cake as Shawnda created it looks a bit fragile and I have forty-five minute morning commute, I thought cupcakes might make a more portable option.

I followed the cake recipe as Shawnda published it, baking my cupcakes for about 20 minutes. I used this recipe for my dulce la leche.

The problem?

My little cakes didn't soak up much of the dulce la leche. It ran down the sides and coated my kitchen counter -- until I quickly transferred the cakes-in-progress to a cookie sheet.

But I wasn't going to be defeated by chocolate cake and scalded sugar milk. I broke out the box of dessert dishes I'd recently discovered in the last of my father's kitchen supplies, de-papered my cupcakes, breaking them in bits in the little bowls. As I spooned the dulce la leche over 34 individual little cakes I found myself grateful that Mo believed that more is better... To finish them off, I topped each cake with a spoonful of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toffee bits.

In the end my adaptation of Shawnda's confection was a hit with my tasters... regardless of how they looked, they *taste* phenomenal. And the individual servings actually worked to some people's advantage; an enforced portion control for those who wanted to indulge -- within limits. The biggest challenge was finding space in the refrigerator for 30-some desserts!

But I'm curious what you think... where did this fail? Did I bake my cupcakes too long? Not long enough? (They seemed neither dry nor overly moist) Were cupcakes themselves the error, with perhaps not enough surface area to absorb the caramelized milk goodness? Or should I have stuck with the sweetened condensed milk rather than adventuring on my own with the dulce la leche?

Inquiring minds want your input...

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12 comments:

Cynthia said...

I can't offer any great baking wisdom as to what went wrong but I think that you won - it tasted great and that was not just you talking.

Peabody said...

It only matters how it tastes!

Heather said...

While I don't know what went wrong, or if I would call it wrong, but maybe adding some little holes to the cakes would help. I made a cake that had me pouring over a very light rum glaze, but it had me prick the surface of the cake with the toothpick and slowly pour the topping on in layers. So pour on a couple of Ts and then wait to do more. A little more time consuming, but it worked.
However, looking at your picture, it may have been better this way.

Lis said...

I have no idea what went wrong - other than I think that you thinking it went wrong is so wrong. ha! I'd prefer it served parfait style - YUM! They look perfect to me. =)

xoxo

KJ said...

I can only agree with everyone else has already said. Most syrup cake recipes suggest poking holes with a thin skewer before spooning the syrup over. If I recall correctly this is usually done while both the cake and syrup are warm. Regardless, I think the parfaits you created look fabulous.

Cheryl said...

Looks good to me. In fact, it looks fantastic.

The Cooking Ninja said...

Sorry, can't offer you any advice here. I'm new to cooking but your creation looks delicious.

Helen said...

I am sure it was amazingly delicious!

Glenna said...

I'm not sure what went wrong but they sure sound and look delicious!

Kristen said...

I think flavor is what matters and if they tasted great, then you were a hit!
This looks really good.

DaviMack said...

I'd wonder whether your dulce de leche was thick enough, actually. I remember eating it on toast (I went to boarding school in Argentina as a teen), and it was fairly thick. Thick enough to spread on toast and not have it run off when you took a bite, certainly. That might be the difference here, rather than in the cupcakes.

With dulce de leche you're not going for a sugar syrup, but for a really thick caramel - less sticky than a caramel, really, or ... less gooey, at least. There are sugar grains in dulce de leche, and it won't stretch like caramel. It's nearer to being a frosting which won't set.

What do you think?

Culinarily Curious said...

Thanks for the feedback David. My dulce la leche was caramel-like, so I suspect you might be on to something here...