I think I may have found my new favorite cupcake! Caramel has long been one of my favorite flavors - I always choose caramel sundaes to chocolate ones, and prefer ice cream with caramel ripples.
I was excited to have found this flavor combination. I love using vanilla beans in baked goods, and the combination of vanilla bean cupcakes with the flavor of Dulce de Leche was WONDERFUL! The buttercream is by far my favorite buttercream flavor I've made yet (in fact, the leftovers may not make it onto more cupcakes, or even onto graham crackers... it may end up in by stomach by way of a spoon!).
VANILLA BEAN CUPCAKES (Adapted from The Culinary Chronicles)
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes
2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3 X-Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Vanilla Sugar
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
Seeds from 2 Vanilla Bean Pods
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
Preheat the oven to 350°degrees and place paper liners in pans.
In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until well blended. Fold in sour cream until smooth.
Fill each lined cup 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Remove immediately from pan & cool completely on a wire rack.
Cut a small cone out of each cupcake & fill with a small amount of Dulce De Leche.
DULCE DE LECHE BUTTERCREAM (Adapted from Joy the Baker)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche
Cream together butter and dulce de leche on low using an electric mixer. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat to incorporate.
Frost as desired.