Mocha-Walnut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting Recipe

Mocha-Walnut Cupcakes
Glenn Cormier


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) walnuts
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (66-72% cacao content), finely chopped
  • 8 ounces (16 tablespoons/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (5 ounces) superfine sugar
  • ¾ cup (4 ½ ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (3 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt

For the dulce de leche frosting:

  • 8 ounces (16 tablespoons/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and instant espresso powder give these cupcakes a deep, rich flavor that is complemented perfectly by the dulce de leche frosting. Dulche de leche is a caramel flavor widely used in Latin American cuisine. Both the cupcakes and the frosting can be made a couple of days in advance and assembled shortly before serving. 

Adapted from "Intensely Chocolate" by Carole Bloom


For the cupcakes:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a cake or pie pan and toast until lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack, then finely chop the walnuts. Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds and line the cavities of two muffin pans with cupcake papers, or place 24 silicone muffin cups on two baking sheets.

Melt the unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and butter together in the top of a double boiler over low heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. Or melt the chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl on low power in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst. Remove the top pan of the double boiler, if using, and wipe the bottom and sides very dry.

Add the instant espresso powder and vanilla and chocolate extracts, and stir to blend thoroughly.

Whipthe eggs in the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the wire whip attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer on medium speed until they are frothy. Add the superfine sugar and brownsugar and whip together until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow and holds a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend completely on low speed.

Over a bowl, sift the flour, then add the salt and toss to blend. Add this mixture to the chocolate mixture in 2 stages, blending well after each addition. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the walnuts and stir to blend thoroughly. Use a 2-inch-diameter ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly among the cavities of the cupcake pans.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out slightly moist.

Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Lift the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on racks.

For the dulce de leche frosting:

Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the fl at beater attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the dulce de leche and blend together thoroughly.

Fit a 14-inch pastry bag with an open star tip and fill partway with the frosting. Pipe a large rosette in the center of each cupcake. Or use a small offset metal spatula to spread the top of each cupcake with the frosting. If the frosting is soft, chill the cupcakes for 15 minutes to set the frosting. Serve the cupcakes at room temperature.


Calories per serving:

372 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Sodium Kidney Friendly, Vegetarian, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free

Daily value:



  • Fat 642g 987%
  • Carbs 743g 248%
  • Saturated 334g 1,670%
  • Fiber 37g 148%
  • Trans 15g
  • Sugars 614g
  • Monounsaturated 163g
  • Polyunsaturated 105g
  • Protein 126g 253%
  • Cholesterol 2,227mg 742%
  • Sodium 1,645mg 69%
  • Calcium 1,824mg 182%
  • Magnesium 912mg 228%
  • Potassium 4,352mg 124%
  • Iron 33mg 186%
  • Zinc 23mg 154%
  • Phosphorus 2,932mg 419%
  • Vitamin A 3,878µg 431%
  • Vitamin C 13mg 21%
  • Thiamin (B1) 2mg 134%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 4mg 248%
  • Niacin (B3) 11mg 57%
  • Vitamin B6 2mg 91%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 581µg 145%
  • Vitamin B12 5µg 86%
  • Vitamin D 14µg 3%
  • Vitamin E 17mg 83%
  • Vitamin K 58µg 73%
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