I’ve never been a coffee drinker. When I was in college I discovered that I loved coffee flavored desserts, but I’ve just never been able to drink a cup of coffee. It’s funny, because my mom is a big coffee drinker but hates coffee in everything else! Anyway, I was responsible for bringing dessert to a meeting recently and when I was going over the possibilities in my head, I kept going back to mocha flavors. I love cupcakes because they’re perfect for individual servings, which suited the meeting well. I looked at several recipes before settling on this one. What really drew me in was the buttercream. I’ve made similar Swiss buttercreams before (in Dorie’s famous Perfect Party Cake and again with this raspberry buttercream). The thought of coffee-flavored Swiss buttercream sounded really good to me.
These cupcakes were really delicious! They had the perfect mix of chocolate and coffee. When I tasted the batter, I didn’t think the coffee flavor stood out enough, so I added 2 teaspoons of ground coffee. I was really pleased with the way the mocha flavor came out in the cupcakes, and the frosting brought out the flavor even more. I really loved the way this frosting came out. It was rich and buttery and was the perfect match to the cupcakes. This was all in all a wonderful cupcake!
Source: slightly adapted from How to Eat a Cupcake, originally from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski
Makes 12-16 (I got 15)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons ground coffee
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and brewed coffee. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about ½ to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 16-20 minutes (book says 22-24 minutes, mine were done at 16). Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee into 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved, then put it in the refrigerator or freezer until it comes down to room temperature. Reduce mixer speed to low and add coffee mixture. Continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.