I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day! I surprised my husband with these chocolate cupcakes infused with coffee and topped with an espresso buttercream frosting. They combined two of his favorite things, coffee and chocolate, so I really couldn't go wrong. I also enhanced the chocolate flavor by adding lots of chocolate chips to the cupcake base. I definitely think these were a hit, especially with the dark chocolate covered espresso beans and hearts on top!
I know these are are little late for Valentine's Day, but it's never too late to surprise your co-workers with these. I'm sure they wouldn't mind a little jolt from a mocha cupcake first thing in the morning. :) In fact, I made an extra batch (minus the pink liners and hearts), for my husband's co-workers since many of them love coffee as much as he does. If you have a few coffee lovers in your life, then definitely give these cupcakes a try!
1 1/3 cup 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, at room temperature
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Dark chocolate covered espresso beans for topping (optional)
To prepare the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cupcake pan with liners. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, coffee, espresso powder, and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, mixing until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on low, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with two additions of the liquid ingredients, just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with the batter. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, working with 1/3 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the vanilla extract. Add the espresso/vanilla mixture to the frosting, and beat for 2 minutes or until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired (I used a 1M tip). Top with dark chocolate espresso beans.*
*Note: To make the chocolate designs, melt chocolate chips (I used bittersweet) in the microwave on 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until melted. Let cool until it can be easily handled, about 20 minutes, or refrigerate until cool. Transfer to a plastic bag. Place a large piece of wax paper on a flat surface. Cut the corner of the plastic bag and pipe the chocolate onto the wax paper. Let the chocolate designs cool completely. Once cool, peel off the wax paper.