Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

From 6 Bittersweets
Cake adapted from Hershey's
Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes

1 cup minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water (or 1/2 cup black coffee)
1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche (I make mine in the pressure cooker)
milk or cream, if needed to thin out dulce de leche

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease top of a standard muffin pan, then line with paper liners.

In large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, milk, coffee (or reconstituted coffee mixture), oil, and vanilla extract. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.

Pour the batter, which will be thin, to fill the paper liners about 2/3 full. Tap the pan firmly against the counter 2 times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack and let them cool completely there before frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the dulce de leche topping by stirring to ensure smoothness and adding milk or cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to thin the dulce de leche to the desired spreading consistency.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, spread the topping on with a spoon or knife, ending by smoothing the stop in a spiral pattern if you like the look.