Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Mocha Cupcakes: For when a cup of coffee just isn't enough.
I know that I will garner absolutely no sympathy here but going back to school after six weeks off is a testing time. When you've had days and days of not getting round to doing much until late morning at least, that six o'clock alarm (for me, anyway) on the first day of term is a shock to the system, and even though I try to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, the sorry truth is that in reality I am dazed, confused, ineffectual... So, when coffee is your metaphorical jump lead, I decide to give an extra boost by having one of these cupcakes. Like I need an excuse. I took a batch of these cakes into work this week. Breaktime was good. Very good.
A word about yieldings. I was possibly a little generous with my frosting. The recipe here iced 12 cupcakes, whereas the cake recipe produced 16 cupcakes. The original recipe that I adapted this from apparently would have yielded about 24 cupcakes...I can only think that I use a larger cupcake pan, but then small cupcakes have never really been my thing. What I am saying is that the number of cakes produced is 'flexible'.
Another observation: Chocolate covered coffee beans. I decided to go along with the idea of putting some into the mixture. I am not sure that they added much to be honest, apart from the odd hard bit of bean which I am not sure is a good thing. I have suggested coffee beans as an optional, but if I were having my time again, I would have them just as the decoration. If you don't have chocolate coffee beans, I reckon a bit of grated chocolate over the top of the frosting would be a pretty cool idea too, if not better than the aforementioned coffee bean adornment!
Mocha cupcakes (adapted from 'Baking Magic' by Kate Shirazi)
For the cakes:
170g self raising flour
8 tbsp cocoa powder (use good stuff; Green & Black's cocoa is my preference)
220g caster sugar
220g softened unsalted butter
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 4 tsp of boiling water
4 large eggs
2 oz chocolate coffee beans (very optional!)
For the buttercream:
165g unsalted butter, softened.
340g sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp of instant coffee dissolved in 3 tsp of boiling water
a few drops of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170c/Gas 3 and line a muffin/cupcake tin with cake cases
Sift the flour, cocoa and sugar into a mixing bowl, food processor or mixer.
Add the butter, baking powder, dissolved coffee, eggs (one at a time and mix in until combined) vanilla extract and salt and then beat until light and fluffy. At this point add the coffee beans if using.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases (I use an ice cream scoop to try to get each cake as equal as possible) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once the cakes are cool they can be iced. To make the buttercream, put the butter into a bowl.
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa over the top, add the vanilla extract and beat away. Then add the coffee. If you're using a food processor this is easy. You should beat the mixture until it becomes fluffy which is effortless with a food processor. It will take mucho elbow grease if you are doing thme by hand. If you think the frosting is too dry, add a splash of milk. If it is too runny, add more icing sugar, until you get a piping consistency.
To decorate. You can either spread the frosting across the top of the cake using a pallet knife, or take a piping back with a large star nozzle, pipe the frosting on in huge swirls. Add a chocolate covered coffee bean on top or some grated chocolate. Deeelish!!