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Friday, November 01, 2013

Mars brownie cups

October 26, 2013

We spent a second Saturday sewing and watching Project Runway with Clamps and Bec. During the week Bec had sent this over-the-top recipe for salted caramel brownie bites with salted caramel buttercream to me with little comment, and I took it as an oblique request that I veganise them and bring them over.

My first step was to get hold of some soy-based dulce de leche from the Radical Grocery. From there I just subbed margarine for butter and ground up some flax eggs - not too complicated. Not wanting to go completely overboard, I halved the brownie recipe and cut down the buttercream further still (I really can't handle the towering clouds of frosting used in so many recipes).

What they lacked in grace, they overcompensated for in sugar. They held a surprising and pleasing set of textures. The cooled brownies had felt rock hard, and were actually just crisp round the papered edges and chewy through the middle where the fudgy caramel sat. The buttercream had a much lighter, smoother feel but if anything was richer and sweeter still - like the Mars bar's nougat.

In the (unlikely) event that I were to make these again, I'd probably try reducing the brownies' sugar content and increasing the chocolate (or adding cocoa) for a bit more depth. That's just a personal preference, though, and their current form more closely resembles the chocolate bar I've named them after.

Mars brownie cups
(adapted from a recipe at Bake It In A Cake)

1 1/12 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
85g margarine
60g dark chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain flour
half a 340g can soy dulce de leche

80g margarine
3/4 cup icing sugar
generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons soy milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake pan with 10 papers.

Grind the flaxseeds in a spice grinder, then mix them with 1/3 cup water in a mug. Set them aside.

In a small saucepan, gently melt together the margarine and chocolate. When they're completely melted, take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the sugar, then the flaxseed mixture, vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour.

Drop tablespoons of the batter into the cupcake liners, ensuring that they are no more than half full. Drop a teaspoon of dulce de leche into the centre of each cupcake, then cover each one with another tablespoon of brownie batter.

Set aside the remaining dulce de leche for use in the buttercream. Bake the cupcakes for around 30 minutes, until firm on top. Allow them to cool entirely before decorating.

Once the cakes are cool, make the buttercream. Beat the margarine in a medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in half of the icing sugar, then 1/2 cup of the dulce de leche and the salt, finishing by beating in the remaining icing sugar. Spoon or pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. 

Whisk together 1/4 cup dulce de leche with the soy milk and drizzle it over the top of the cupcakes.


  1. I'm also not too fond of excessive sugar or frosting... they do look like a fun party treat, though!

    1. Hi leaf! Yes, very much party food and not something I'd regularly make for myself. :-)

  2. they look great and I am still seeking ways to use up buttercream in the fridge - I am not so keen on the stuff and always find it hard to use up because I agree that towering clouds of the stuff might be pretty but it hurts your teeth to eat through them but I am a sucker for chocolate and caramel

    1. Hi Johanna - I imagine the brownie bases in these cupcakes might appeal to you, and you could even reduce the sugar from present levels.

  3. This recipe looks yummy and probably easy to convert to gluten free. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Welcome, Carla! Yes, I'm sure you could substitute the plain flour in this recipe to good effect. :-)

  4. Oh god, as if I haven't put on WAY to much weight lately already! I won't make this myself...but I'm going to leave the recipe where my daughter can find it, then I can't be held responsible.

    1. Haha, Linda! Let's hope your daughter takes the hint. ;-)

  5. Yes yes yes. Also needs a layer of peanut butter.

    1. Well, Hannah, then I guess we'd almost be back to Snickers brownie cups.... which would be just fine by me. :-D