Mocha Cupcakes with Whipped Espresso Buttercream

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Recently, at work we threw a little wedding shower at a local coffee shop for two co-workers who just happened to be getting married on the exact same day. One of them, Stephanie, is rarely seen without a coffee cup in her hand, so I thought I’d go ahead and feed her habit. In addition, I’m pretty sure when you put chocolate (and coffee) in a room full of women, you really can’t go wrong.

I’ve been wanting to bake a cupcake that involved coffee and chocolate for awhile now. But, for some reason, I just haven’t come across too many such recipes that have made me do a little happy dance. So, I decided to do a little cutting and pasting and come up with my own little combination.

The Sarah Magid frosting I’ve made a couple of different times, and it’s becoming a regular customer in my kitchen. I especially like this espresso version because you get the hint of coffee without too much sweetness. It’s nice and light.

And this cake, oh this cake. I’m going to have to make it someday, true to the recipe, as a layer cake with the ganache. It’s so freaking moist, light and chocolately. It’s pretty perfect for a cupcake, and it plays well with the espresso in the frosting.

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    mocha cupcakes with whipped espresso buttercream


  • Ingredients

  • chocolate cupcakes
  • 3 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1-1/2 cups hot and strong brewed coffee
  • 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • espresso whipped buttercream frosting
  • 2 sticks unsalted organic butter, softened
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sifted organic all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered espresso
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  • 24 chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)

  • Directions

  • make the cupcakes

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Fill muffin pan with cupcake liners. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

    Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a mixer, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored, 3-5 minutes. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs. Beat mixture until well combined. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely on wire rack before applying frosting.

    make the frosting

    In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with flour, whisking until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk. Whisk constantly over medium-high heat and cook until bubbles form and it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and keep stirring. Then let cool to room temperature. Quicken this step by throwing mixture into freezer until it is room temperature. If there’s a thick skin on top that’s developed while in the freezer, remove and discard it.

    While milk-flour mixture is cooling, make the butter-sugar mixture. In a mixer, cream butter on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add in sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Once milk-flour mixture is cooled, on low speed, slowly pour the milk-flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Increase to medium speed and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Dissolve espresso powder in hot, preferably boiling, water. Start with 1 tablespoon of each. I was looking for a stronger coffee flavor so I went with 2 tablespoons of each. However, add additions slowly so that you do not lose the desired frosting consistency. Frost the cupcakes and add a chocolate covered coffee bean to the top center of each cupcake.

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