The theme for January's Cupcake Hero is Coffee. Piece of cake. I thought. I like coffee. I like the deep rich taste of coffee. I like the aroma of coffee. I do NOT like sugar in my coffee. or cream. Suddenly I realized this was going to be very difficult to make a coffee cupcake without liking cream or sugar in my coffee. I do like a plain old nonfat latte sometimes. But how to make a milk flavor in my not sweet coffee cupcake?
I was stumped.
I couldn't really think of a coffee flavoring that wasn't a Starbucks flavor. And I didn't want to do that. Basically I wanted a cupcake that tasted like a cup of coffee. So, I took a not too sweet cupcake recipe added a ton of espresso powder and mixed and stirred and frosted it with a little bit of plain white fluffy buttercream icing. I was going for the "foam" look. Then after a sample, I decided it was just too sweet and looked too plain. Then I hit upon it. I dusted the tops of these simple cupcakes with instant espresso powder. Now when I took a bite, the espresso powder stayed on my lips and gave that unmistakable coffee flavor. Followed by sweet icing. Followed by coffee flavored cake. I was still a bit unsure so I took them to my volleyball team.
I think the volleyball team keeps me around because I'm tall and for the first game of the match the other team can be intimidated by me as I crowd the net somewhat oxen like. But then they discover that I can't seem to serve over the net most nights and that if I actually hit the ball it may or may not go over the net (or in the direction I want it to go). It's a good thing I bring cupcakes.
The aroma of these cupcakes hit as soon as I opened the box. They smelled like a latte. That was a good sign. And the girls gobbled them up and gave their seal of approval. I would say it made them feel better about losing, but we've lost all but 10 games, so we're pretty OK with it right now. We have fun. Yes that's 10 games won and many many many losses. It's not like there's a trophy or a prize or anything.
So I'm sending them over to Quirky Cupcake with Happy Birthday wishes to Jaos!
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup softened butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk flour, espresso powder, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in large bowl. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed in electric mixer. Beat in butter for 1 minute at low speed. Scrape the bowl. Beat for 1 1/2 minutes at medium-high speed. Scrape the bowl again. Beat for 30 seconds on low speed.
Fill 12 cupcake molds with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tester inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
12 oz (1 1/2 sticks) of butter softened
Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently until egg whites are hot (140 degrees) and sugar is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and whip by machine until thick and cooled (about 5 minutes). Beat in butter and continue beating until buttercream is smooth and spreadable.