Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mocha Latte Cupcakes

Have I ever mentioned that I love coffee?  

I have been putting coffee in my chocolate cake for a couple years now.  Thanks to Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) one of my favorite lady chefs.  I don't use her recipe anymore but I still use the coffee.  

I don't think I've ever admitted this to anyone except my closest friends but I didn't start making my cakes and cupcakes from scratch until about two years ago.  It's not that it was some big secret.  I love to bake.  I've been baking since I was 8 years old.  But mostly cookies, candy, pie, quick breads, even eclairs. But cake was always intimidating to me so I stuck with mixes. I tried a lot of different cake and cupcake recipes and they always came out dry or uneven and never tasted as moist and fluffy as a box cake.  

Then two years ago right before I started this blog I finally said that's enough.  I'm not using a mix anymore.  I'm not even going to buy the boxes (unless I make cakepops and that's something totally different).  Once I made that commitment I finally started experimenting more and getting more comfortable with cake.  Most of the recipes I originally used were from Barefoot Contessa  so I give her a lot of credit for helping me develop my pastry skills and confidence(She also has an amazing scone recipe by the way). I love her laid back style and approach to cooking.  Besides anyone who loves Paris is awesome in my book.  So lets do some baking. 

Mocha cupcakes
makes 24-30 cupcakes or 2 x 9inch round cakes
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs 
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup hot strong coffee
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Before you even crack an egg ...

-Let your eggs, buttermilk and butter sit out for about an hour or longer before baking to reach room temperature.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .
-Line your cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.
-Prepare a cup or a pot of coffee (feel free to make yourself a cup too)

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.

Then gently whisk or stir all the dry ingredients together and set aside. 

Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. 

In another bowl with an electric mixer or standing mixer, mix the oil and sugar together.

Then mix in your eggs until they look like this. 

Next mix in the butter milk and vanilla.  

Add one third of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix them until just combined.  Then repeat that until it's all mixed together.  Right now is when I usually scrape down the bowl to get anything that is sticking to the sides. 

This is how dark the coffee should be if you really want to taste it.  You can use a lighter brew if you don't want a strong coffee flavor, but since this a mocha cake you really want to taste it.  Slowly pour in the cup of coffee with the mixer on low speed.  Continue to mix it on low until the batter looks something like this. 

Yes it will be runny, but that's perfectly okay. 

Last but not least fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full.  I use a large ice cream scoop (which I use for everything) or a 1/4 measuring cup.  

Then bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cupcake bounces back when touched.  If you touch it and it leaves an imprint (reminds me of Twilight:), then it's not quite ready. You can also do the toothpick test, which my daughter loves.  Just insert a toothpick and if it comes out dry it's done. 

I allow these to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing them from the pan to cool on a cooling rack.  The sooner you get them out of the pan the better.  The pan is still hot and will keep cooking your cupcakes if you don't remove them, equals dry cupcakes. 

While they are cooling you can make the frosting.  

Latte Buttercream frosting
1lb (16oz box) Powdered sugar sifted
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup shortening (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons strong coffee (room temperature)
3 Tablespoons Heavy (cold) whipping cream

Optional:  4 Tbsp Cocoa for dusting and chocolate covered coffee beans to top it all off. 

Before you mix anything...

-Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside.  This is an important step if you want smooth frosting because powdered sugar tends to be lumpy. 
-Remember to take your butter out and let it reach room temperature.  
-Most importantly prepare your coffee and set it aside to cool. You can use instant or   regular whatever you have available.  

Time to mix...
In a large bowl on medium high speed cream together the butter and shortening until light in color and fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes.  The mixture should be smooth with no lumps.  If it's still lumpy then mix it some more. 

Next add half of the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated.  Continue to mix on medium speed for about a minute. Then add the second half and repeat the mixing. 

Add the vanilla and coffee and mix until combined.  

Once this is done you can add the heavy cream and mix on medium to high for about a minute or until you see the frosting getting very fluffy and smooth.  You will see the frosting fluff up and it will look like this.  Now you're ready to frost some cupcakes.  

Then try not to eat all two dozen of them at one sitting.  Enjoy!

You can find the printable recipe here 

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