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Friday, March 7, 2008

Mocha Cupcakes

Why are cupcakes always better when they're made on a whim? I had no intentions of making cupcakes again until next Tuesday, but yesterday I got a strange craving for coffee cupcakes. I wanted to make a small batch, so I chose the recipe for Mocha Cupcakes from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski (which, FYI, is a beautiful book) because it said it only made 12. Well... I got 16 perfect sized cupcakes. Somehow that always happens to me. These cupcakes are so perfectly chocolatey with a hint of coffee. They're moist, tender, and sooo soft. And of course the coffee Swiss meringue buttercream is freaking to die for! I like to put one in the fridge for about 5 minutes before I eat it. The frosting stiffens up a little and becomes a silky texture.

dry ingredients, sugars, coffee/milk mixture, unsalted butter and an egg ready for the oven!
Maybe the magic touch was in my new B&D shirt??
16 cupcakes cooling...
Mocha Cupcake on a tiny dessert pedestal I bought at Tuesday Morning for $7 (It's even more adorable with the glass dome lid on top!) Does anyone else think this looks slightly 'risque?'They're topped with different flavored chocolate covered espresso beans I found at Ross or Marshall's or one of those neat discount stores.
Cupcake recipe from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski.
Frosting recipe courtesy of yours truly! :)

MY NOTES: I used half regular cocoa powder + half Hersheys Special Dark (I think all Special Dark is too chocolatey, all regular cocoa powder is not chocolatey enough). The book said this recipe yields 12 cupcakes. I got 16. Mine were done at 16 minutes.

Mocha Cupcakes
Makes 12-16 (book says 12, I got 16)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and brewed coffee. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about ½ to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 16-20 minutes (book says 22-24 minutes, mine were done at 16). Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes enough to frost 16 cupcakes

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee

Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee into 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved, then put it in the refrigerator or freezer until it comes down to room temperature. Reduce mixer speed to low and add coffee mixture. Continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.


losslustlove said...

Yay! They are finally here and boy do they ever look delightful. I haven't made a coffee cupcake yet. I don't really know why just... haven't gotten around to it. This makes me want to even more though :D

dlb said...

These look awesome!
Your decorating is great.

Gigi said...

I love the piping and espresso bean on top! Awesome job!

Aardvark Cakes said...

Hi, Thanks for the fab pictures - will def be making mocha cupcakes v soon! Just a quick question - how do you make sure all your cupcakes are so even and level? Do you pipe in the mixture (I also notice that you don't seem to get the mixture all over your cases too!) IS there a certain amount that you put in each one? Sorry if this is a really simple question - one day I will have a perfect set of cupcakes! Thanks! Helen x

losslustlove said...

Hey aardvark, I think she uses an ice cream scoop to get even cupcakes and no mess. I could be wrong but I thought I read that on her blog one time... :)

ms fortune said...

these look yum i was sooo close to making coffee ones this morning... i went with baileys tho... but now seeing yours i want coffee... the icing looks so yum

Stef said...

I love those two hands holding the cupcakes. Risque? Maybe.

Suzy said...

ooooh yum! Those look awesome...and yes...the "cupcake in hands one" eeeep..I little bit risky! ha!

Happy cook said...

They looks DELICIOUS.
I love cup cakes. Have bookmarked this in my try list

Alanna said...

I love the risque photo. That is surely "food porn" at it's best! LOL

Happy cook said...

Hey i do think you should ask more next time for your cupcakes.

Mara said...

love them!!! curious what tip did you use for the piping? i am a piping novice and still trying to figure out what #'s and shapes give what result!

Mara said...

Random question on a not-so-fresh post...but the Cupcakes book by Shelly K is showing up on Amazon as pre-order and out in October 2008...did you get a pre-release copy or am I smoking the cupcake crack pipe?!!

Celia said...

Oh, I have always found difficult to get white eggs into meringue. My question: the frosting is so tricky to do or as easy as it seems in your explanation? lol...

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Celia, I was lucky enough to get Swiss meringue buttercream right on the first try. However, I've heard a lot of horror stories about how others have ended up with soupy frosting (they didn't whip it long enough in the final stage), grainy frosting (didn't wait for the sugar to melt during the heating process), etc.

As long as you follow all of the directions exactly, it shouldn't give you a problem. And everyone makes mistakes, so if you mess up just try again! It's so delicious. It really is worth the effort! :)

catlover said...

Looks delicious!! I love coffee ice cream. I thought of adding coffee cupcake batter or icing like Health milk chocolate toffee bits.

meg said...

hi i was wondering if instead of instant coffee if you could use cool fresh brewed coffee? and if so when would you add it?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Meg, in the frosting you could use fresh brewed coffee, but you would have to make it very very strong to get enough coffee flavor without adding a lot of liquid. You could probably add 2-3 tablespoons of strong coffee (espresso would be better) without making the frosting too soupy.

Jacelyn said...

Hi, can i check with you is the cocoa dutch processed or natural?

apparentlyjessy said...

Even though you posted this one aeons ago, just wanted to say thanks again for another perfect recipe. You are now my go to girl :)

Carole said...

I saw the book for the first time ever at a bookstore yesterday, but it was a tad too expensive. I decided to see if the local library system has it. They don't - not yet anyway. :(

So....I thank you for sharing this recipe! I love dark chocolate so will probably use Ghirardelli baking cocoa!

Anonymous said...

I'm a first time baker...from scratch anyways...and I was just wondering if it's safe to eat the frosting with the eggs in it?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Anonymous, the egg whites get heated to 160, so they're safe to eat!

Anonymous said...

YUMM! I just made these cupcakes today and they are wonderful - so soft and moist and tast =) thank you!

Liv said...

Help me, cupcake sensei!! I've tried three times unsuccessfully to make the butter cream icing and have failed BOTH TIME!! Grrr! Anyhow, I have think perhaps what happened is that I've been attempting the recipe with a regular hand beater instead of a stand mixer (I don't have one. :( ) Anyhooo, so I was wondering if you have any advice on how I might mix in the butter without deflating my beautiful mix. It always looks good up to the point where I add the butter in. I tried beating it in once; that didn't work. The next time I tried folding the butter in; alas, the same result.

Any suggestions for how to make good butter cream without a stand mixer?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Liv, after you add the butter, you have the BEAT BEAT BEAT on HIGH! If your kitchen is warm, give the buttercream a rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then BEAT BEAT BEAT again on HIGH until it whips up! :D

miss clumsyanna said...

hye,,i was wondering, do i need to strain the instant coffe?since they will contain small bits of granules

ECUmom12 said...

These cupcakes were fantastic. I had a little trouble getting the frosting to whip up. I added a bit of Meringue Powder, gave it some extra time on the Kitchen Aid and it came out amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe!