These cupcakes are a pirate’s temptation – brown sugar cupcakes filled with salted dulce de leche and topped with a salted rum dulce de leche buttercream. Oh, a gorgeous mermaid on the beach to lure you in. This cupcake could take down a pirate any day.
Preheat oven: 190°C / 170°C (fan) / Gas Mark 5 / 375°F
For the sponge, cream together the butter and sugar, either using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until whisked up nice and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and mix together.
Stir in the vanilla extract and then sift in the flour, folding in gently until just combined.
Add in the milk and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20mins until risen and springy to the touch.
Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the buttercream.
Salted rum dulce de leche buttercream:
Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
Add in the dulce de leche, rum and salt (or the salted rum dulce de leche sauce and extra rum), mixing until smooth.
Dulce de leche cupcake filling:
Mix together the dulce de leche and salt and in a bowl, stirring until smooth.
Using a knife, cut a small but deep hole in the centre of the top of the cooled cupcake (roughly 1½ inch diameter), lifting out the chunk of cake you’ve just cut. This should go roughly halfway into the depth of the cupcake.
Keep the chunk of cake removed, and cut off the bottom half of this. With this bottom sponge section, place this aside in a bowl for later.
Spoon 2 teaspoon of salted dulce de leche into the hole you’ve created in the cupcake and then press the top half of the cake chunk back into the cupcake, sealing away the sauce inside the cupcake.
Repeat this until each of your cupcakes have been filled with salted dulce de leche, keeping all of the sponge chunks for later.
Mermaid beach cupcake decoration:
Separate half of the buttercream into a separate bowl, and add 2-3 drops of blue food colouring, stirring until smooth. You can then add an extra drop of blue and one of green and stir slightly to give a multitone effect.
Add the un-coloured half of the buttercream to a piping bag with a round nozzle. Pipe this in smooth lines across half of each the cupcake in a single layer.
Crumble the excess cupcake chunks from earlier into little crumbs, and press these into the buttercream halves of the cupcakes to look like sand.
Add the blue frosting to a piping bag with a flat piping tip. Hold this so the line is vertical and pipe the blue icing in zigzags across the plain half of the cupcakes to look like waves.
Take your seashell mould and brush icing sugar into the cavities then press your white fondant into the cavities before gently popping them out. Repeat until you have enough seashells for a couple per cupcake. Place these onto the sand side of your cupcake.
Melt your white chocolate in the microwave, 30secs at a time, stirring between bouts until smooth.
Pour you chocolate into the mermaid tail mould and set in the fridge for 10mins. Pop this out carefully, brush with lustre dust (optional) and top your cupcake with the tail. Repeat until you’ve topped as many cupcakes as you’d like.
In this recipe, you can either use dulce de leche from the shop or make your own using my simple recipe for dulce de leche (see my recipe for salted rum dulce de leche sauce).