We’re coffee lovers here and when we’re at home, we drink mostly half-caff or decaf which makes it easy for Kyle to justify the amount he drinks in a day. And since we bought a Keurig back in the fall, not only can we brew a cup in about 30 seconds, but we’ve got lots of new flavors to try as well. So when these café mocha cupcakes crossed my path a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist. Simple ingredients…good ingredients…lots of coffee…fantastic results. This quite possibly is the best buttercream frosting I’ve ever made. Espresso flavor is busting out of this smooth and decadent frosting and it’s the frosting that made this cupcake as great as it was. I’m not sure I would use this choice of cupcake recipe again since the cake was quite literally falling apart under the weight of the frosting and I really didn’t find as much coffee flavor as I had expected to. I should have been leery of the cupcake since it’s adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe and it’s definitely not my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe so next time I make these, I’ll use my favorite devil’s food cupcake recipe. In any event, treat yourself to some chocolate covered espresso beans for a little garnish and boost the buzz…something that’s certainly appreciated in this house after all that decaf!
Café Mocha Cupcakes
source: My Baking Addiction; cupcake recipe adapted from Ina Garten
For the Cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 1 ½ teaspoon instant espresso granules
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso granules to the cup of hot coffee and stir to combine. With mixer still on low, add in the coffee/espresso mixture and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), distribute the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove them onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
For the frosting
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- pinch of fine grain sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
- 3-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- In a large bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar/cocoa powder mixture, and continue creaming until well blended.
- Add salt, vanilla, 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk and espresso/water. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.