Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mocha Cupcakes

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! 

Mocha Cupcakes
Servings: 12-14 

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. 

Source: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from My Baking Addiction

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