Saturday, 10 September 2011

Mocha Cupcakes

 I wasn't feeling great today and sometimes, when I’m not feeling great, I crave a little something-something.  Usually that something-something involves either chocolate or coffee.  Today I decided to satisfy my taste for both by making mocha cupcakes.

I don’t often make cupcakes.  I usually prefer to make a more traditional cake, either in a sheet pan or with layers and frosting, but cupcakes do serve a certain purpose:  They’re quick to bake, easy to serve, and—if you want to save some for later—you can cover unfrosted cupcakes in foil and freeze them right in the pan.

Here’s my recipe.  It makes about 18 cupcakes.

Prepare your pans either by buttering and flouring them or by lining them with cupcake cups.  I prefer cupcake cups myself.  I know that it’s another piece of paper you’re throwing away, but they cut down on prep time and they make the finished cupcakes easier to serve.  

You'll need:

1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. sifted Dutch process cocoa
1-3/4 c. unsifted all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1-3/4 c. good, strong coffee, cooled to room temperature

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then blend in the eggs.

In a second bowl whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until combined.  Mix in 1/2 of the coffee.  Continue alternating the flour mixture and the coffee, ending with the flour mixture.  Stir until combined but try not to over mix the batter. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they spring back when lightly touched.

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans.  If you’re freezing them, wrap them and put them in the freezer once they’ve cooled.  If you’re icing them, you may want to try this mocha butter cream frosting:  

Cream together 1 c. unsalted butter, 1/2 c. sifted Dutch process cocoa and 1-1/2 tsp. espresso powder.  Gradually add sifted icing sugar to the creamed mixture until the frosting reaches the sweetness and consistency you prefer.  If it gets too thick while you’re adding the sugar, thin it with a little milk.  The finished frosting should spread easily without being runny.

Because I like the contrast in texture they provide, I garnished my cupcakes with dark chocolate covered espresso beans.  Garnish is optional though.  The cupcakes are just fine without it.

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