Cinnamon dulce de leche cupcakes with cinnamon frosting

Cinnamon dulce de leche cupcakes

Editor’s Note: I’ve reworked this cupcake recipe to make it IMMENSELY better, so if you want to make Cinnamon Dulce de Leche Cupcakes, check out the updated recipe here!

Cinnamon Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
3.75 cups cake flour
3 1/8 tsp baking powder
5/8 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped out
14 oz dulce de leche (I followed this recipe)

Frosting Ingredients
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp whole milk
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Dulce de leche filling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.

Measure out the buttermilk, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds and stir to combine. On low speed, add flour mixture and milk/vanilla mixture alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full and bake cupcakes for about 19-22 minutes.

For the frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar, followed by vanilla, milk and cinnamon. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating on high to whip the frosting into a fluffy mass.

To assemble the cupcakes, cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller. Fill each hole with dulce de leche. Frost the cupcakes with  a pastry bag and your favorite tip (I used an extra large closed star  tip).
(Cupcake Recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot)

This week’s recipe, while ambitious, is based on an existing recipe. I’m feeling a little burned out following the Cupcake Smash, but wanted to deliver on flavor and fun. The dulce de leche is a small nod toward Cinco de Mayo, but I didn’t try to go full force to celebrate the holiday (which is NOT the Mexican Independence Day).

My dulce de leche was very sticky, but the flavor is delicious, so its forgivable. I also chose this recipe to experiment more with cake flour as I work toward building my own master cake recipes.


  1. These were pretty good! Thoughts:

    GOOD: Frosting. Very good!

    GOOD: Cake flavor!

    OKAY: Filling texture. Pretty neutral on it. A little too solid in places.

    LESS-THAN-OKAY: Cake moisture. My cake was a little too dry. Maybe it was the new flour?

    OVERALL: Despite my complaints, I liked these cakes. A very good flavor overall.

  2. Beard King Jones

    May 6, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Verrrrrry tasty cupcake. I was a bit worried that the cinnamon would be too much, but it’s not at all. It’s definitely prominent, but tame.

    The dulce filling is absolutely spectacular, I’d love a few spoonfuls of that to wolf down. It did come out of the cupcake in a clump, which I was warned about, but that didn’t bother me at all. It is, I think, the best part of this cupcake.

    The icing is nice and sweet, mixed with the spice of the cinnamon. Very tasty and a good compliment to the cake and dulce.

    Overall I am thoroughly enjoying this one (and I’m not quite done yet).

  3. It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.

    In an ephemeral elseworld in my head, there are no Choco Tacos. They have all been replaced with the far superior, and far more elusive, Cinnamon Choco Taco. It is a beautiful fiction.

    The cinnamon frosting couldn’t have worked better. The cinnamon flavor really pops, and creates a nice heat on the tail. Similarly, the cinnamon in the cupcake worked well; more subtle than in the frosting, but still mouth-watering. Your dulce de leche was an incredibly sticky, magical goo of magic and goo and caramel is awesome. Thumbs up.

    The flavors are among the best we’ve yet sampled. Now for the blurst.

    Simply, it did not hold together. After the first bite, half of the cupcake broke off and crumbled, the remainder clinging to the dulce de leche while slowly crumbling. When I tried to contain it, holding it by the top, the filling fell, leaving me with one pile of crumbled upcake, one gooey orb and a handful of surprisingly resilient frosting.

    Being a man of action and dignity, I solved the problem by shoving everything into my mouth at once. The taste composition was still awesome. A+ for the flavor, D- for the structure.

    • I think cake flour might just be my mortal enemy. But I’m glad you liked the flavors! Maybe I’ll put this on the “revisit” list.

  4. I’m a big fan of cinnamon & chocolate, so I enjoyed today’s treat. My cake held itself together enough for my liking, and the frosting was as creamy as I like, although I would have preferred a bolder flavor. Now, the dulce de leche was very satisfying, just the right amount of gooey goodness.

  5. I enjoyed this one. I feel like it may be my number 2. I was concerned it would be too sweet with the filling but it was perfectly balanced. The frosting was absolutely delicious. I agree that the cake was a tad dry. Although I didn’t notice this as much when I was enjoying it with filling. Flavor of the cake was excellent. My dulce, in my opinion, was perfect. It was not sticky at all and was slightly more condensed than the inside of a caramello. The very center held a few harder pieces that were reminiscent of fudge. It held together well and I loved the presentation with the light blue papers.

  6. I just want to say that I’m increasingly jealous that I haven’t experienced a Cupcake Friday yet (maybe 6/3???)and also that Kyle’s review was incredibly entertaining. So, kudos to Kyle, and of course to Mel for another creative, beautiful, tasty (in my imagination) blurst of a cupcake :)

    • You better be experiencing Cupcake Friday in June! Then Brewfest Saturday, followed by Hungover Sunday and Sad Goodbyes Monday.

      You’ll regret it if you don’t.

  7. Hate to say, not my favorite. The cake came off as whole wheat to me? A little crumbly. The candy center was gelatinous, and sort of came off like a gumdrop. I thought it was a really strange texture to have in the middle. Didn’t work for me.

    Loved the presentation (great cake wrappers), the scent was fantastic, and the icing was dreamy. (I recently had a horchata cupcake that could have used this icing.)

  8. So… While the cinnamon scent this cupcake radiated was heavenly, and I really loved the icing… I have to go with Kate on this one. Not my favorite. :\ I didn’t get whole wheat from the cake but I didn’t find it to have much flavor and, as mentioned throught this post, a quite crumbly consistency. I don’t know if the icing overpowered the dulche le leche as well, because I didn’t find that I was able to get a read on the taste of it at all (besides that it simply was there as the filling).

    DEFINITELY hold on to the icing recipe, though. I’m just imagining it on one of your chocolate cupcakes… yum. :)

  9. Have to side with Alexis and Kate on this one. The icing was awesome, and I liked the penetrating cinnamon flavor throughout the cupcake. But the cake was pretty blah and didn’t hold together, and the dulce le leche was a FAIL for me. Sorry Beard man!

    Of course, I still ate the whole thing in a rather contented state, so I’m a picky hypocrite. :)

  10. Always the last one to leave a review! What is left to say (especially since I just gave my review to Melissa in person)?

    Icing: Just not going to comment on this anymore because it is consistently great.

    Cake: I had been forewarned about a “crumbly” aspect, but I did not experience this with my cupcake. I enjoyed the cinnamon flavor. The dulce de leche was good, but somewhere in the middle I bit into a huge chunk/ball of it—not so good.

    Packaging: As Kate mentioned, I also noticed the cupcake wrappers. Very cute.

    The limoncello one still “takes the (cup)cake” for me. :)

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