So I'm pulling a Sweets & Treats recipe from my archives to fulfill my holiday posting requirements— You might be spending the day with someone you love, and you might want to make something very special for them. This recipe is quite special and extremely rich, though it flies in the face of my current focus on uncomplicated whole food recipes. But love is a complicated subject, so I think we can let it slide this time.
Espresso Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Ingredients for the Cake:
The cake part of the recipe comes from Whisk-Kid.com's Deep Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup sour cream, room temp
- 2/3 cup hot prepared espresso
Ingredients for the Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3.5 oz bar of Green & Black's Espresso Dark Chocolate
Ingredients for the Coffee Bean Medallions (optional):
- 11 oz. white chocolate baking chips
- approx. 72 coffee beans
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F
Line your cupcake trays and set aside.
Bowl 1: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Bowl 2: Cream the butter and sugar. Since this is an adaptation of a Whisk-kid.com recipe, I'll post her baking tips here too, wherein she discusses proper creaming technique. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract. Pour in the dry ingredients from Bowl 1, 1/3 at a time, then add 1/2 of the sour cream and repeat, mixing until all ingredients are just combined.
Add in the hot espresso and gently combine, then pour the batter into your lined cupcake trays. Each liner should be about 2/3 full. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack— let them completely cool before frosting.
For the frosting: In a large bowl, let the butter soften at room temp (do not melt). Add in half of the confectioner's sugar, then the milk and vanilla extract. Beat the ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes until the texture is smooth. Add the remaining sugar 1 cup at a time and continue beating after each addition.
Using a double boiler, melt the espresso dark chocolate. Combine with the prepared frosting and fold together with a spatula. Spoon the frosting into an icing bag. With a star icing tip, apply approx. 2 tbsp of frosting to the top of each cupcake— to get the exact effect in the photos, while squeezing the bag, rotate the icing tip in a very small circle at the center of the top of the cupcake. As the icing emerges, it will expand outward, forming a tidy spiral.
For the medallions (optional): I make these using a petit fours tray with round indentations, but you could also use an ice cube tray if you don't mind oblong medallions. Using the double boiler again, melt the white chocolate baking chips. Pour into the tray molds, and add three coffee beans to each before the chocolate hardens up again. Place medallions in the fridge to set.
When the medallions are set, add one to the top of each frosted cupcake, and voila! You have a really special treat for someone you love.