I love millionaire shortbread. I had never had it before coming to the UK and I think my brain exploded when I discovered this genius combination of cookie, caramel, and chocolate. This is not the first variation of millionaire shortbread that I have concocted — I’ve made billionaire brownies and a millionaire cheesecake, both of which were extremely rich. Basically, there is no way to combine caramel and chocolate and have it be a “light dessert”. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen, especially with these cupcakes.
The cupcake is a simple vanilla cupcake, a variation on a tried and true recipe I’ve used before. It has a smooth vanilla flavour and a good sturdy texture, without being dry. It’s a must to balance out the caramel and the chocolate. Instead of using traditional caramel, I decided to make one of my favourite foods, dulce de leche. It is less “chewy” than normal caramel but still has that deliciously thick and creamy caramel taste. I both filled and topped these cupcakes with it. To finish of course, is the chocolate layer. As these are cupcakes, I wanted to pipe the traditional swirl on top. However, I didn’t want to lose the pure chocolate taste by substituting in chocolate buttercream. So I made chocolate ganache piped that on instead. I’m really pleased with how well it held it’s shape.
Basically these are ridiculously rich. I ate a quarter of one whilst I was taking the photos and almost had to go lie down for a nap. I will be recommending to my flatmates that they consume these with a big glass of water close to hand. I hereby reject all responsibility for any ill effects caused by overindulgence. ;)
Makes 10 over-the-top cupcakes
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Line a muffin tin with 10 cupcake cases.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on high, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.
- Divide the batter equally between the cupcake cases. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place the muffin tray on a cooling rack and cool completely before filling and icing (see below).
Dulce de Leche
You will need:
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 1 deep pot
- plastic piping bag
- medium sized round tip (e.g. Wilton #12)
- Put the tin of condensed milk on it’s side inside the pot. Fill the pot with water so that the tin is covered, ideally by at least an inch of water. If you’re pot is deep enough, you can stand the can upright, but I needed to place it on it’s side so that it was adequately covered.
- Bring the water to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 2 – 2.5 hours. Top up the water each time you check it (every 15 min or so) so that the tin remains covered by a good inch of water.
- Let cool completely before opening the tin.
- Cut the end of the piping bag so that the round tip fits snugly in the bottom. Fill the bag with the completely cooled dulce de leche.
- Inserted the tip into the centre of a cupcake and firmly squeeze a small amount of dulce de leche. Repeat this for each cupcake. There was a fair amount left over, so I also piped a ring of dulce de leche around the edge of each cupcake. I wanted the cupcake to look like it had the 3 layers of a millionaire shortbread. Top with the chocolate ganache.
WARNING: Keep checking on it as it simmers away. DO NOT let the water evaporate so that the can is exposed to the air. This could result in the tin EXPLODING. Needless to say, a can of exploding molten caramel is very dangerous and I will say in advance that you do this at your own risk! (Really it’s quite safe, but I feel compelled to write this warning)
- 250g milk chocolate
- 100g 70% dark chocolate
- 150-250 ml cold double cream
- disposable piping bag
- Large star tip e.g. 1M
- Finely chop the chocolate and place in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 20 second intervals until completely melted, stirring after each interval.
- When the chocolate is completely melted, gradually stir in 150 ml of double cream. The mixture should become thick, smooth and glossy. If it goes lump and looks like it is separating, don’t panic, just keep adding small amounts of double cream. It should gradually come back together. Let the ganache cool around 10 minutes, or until it is firm enough to hold it’s shape but still easily spreadable.
- Fill the piping bag fitted with a large star tip (e.g. 1M) with the ganache. Pipe swirls on top of each cupcake.
- Place the cupcakes in the fridge so that the ganache sets completely.