Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Test-run of Coffee Cupcakes.

Because this is my first blog post in about 8 years (I used "Xanga" when it was all the rage in middle school), I'm not really sure how this works. So please, bare with me. I apologize in advance if my posts jump around; I tend to type what I'm thinking and my thoughts easily jump from one subject to something seemingly unrelated.
I have recently found a love of baking (helps that I have a kitchen at school this year; was in a regular dorm last year without a kitchen). Baking cupcakes, specifically. It's not so much that cupcakes are the rage (do people still say things are "the rage"?) right now, but rather that they're pre-portioned for you. A whole cake may lead you to believe that two small slices is okay; eat two cupcakes and people start throwing weird looks your way.
Also, this isn't some fancy cupcake blog with all the cameras and gadget and stuff. I'm a college kid-- I don't own any sort of electric beater so I use a whisk and arm power; I am taking pictures with my smartphone (I'm awful with a real camera, even if I did own one); I have "MVP" themed cupcake wrappers because they were the cheapest; I generally do not buy brand name ingredients, unless they're on sale; I use a decorating tip inside of a ziploc baggie to pipe my frosting. My cupcakes are still delicious and I believe they have more love than something made with all those fancy gadgets (though electric beaters would really be nice to own; even the old hand-crank ones would be useful).

Next week is my mom's birthday. I will be making her cupcakes (even thogh she really doesn't like cupcakes). Mostly because my dad volun-told* me to, especially with my new found love of baking cupcakes. I would make a whole cake, but I know how to do cupcakes. I don't want it to turn out awful for my mom's birthday.
Process for deciding the flavor went as follows: Mom does not like overly sweet things; I have no idea what her favorite flavor cake is or if she has one; I don't want to attempt something too crazy and have it fail. Hmmm. She likes peach cobbler- I'll do a peach cupcake... Except that it's December so they wouldn't be fresh peaches and neither my dad or brother would eat them. I can't leave her with a whole batch of cupcakes to eat single-handedly. I don't own molasses to do a gingerbread-ish cake. SHE LOVES COFFEE! I'll definitely do coffee; we all LOVE coffee.... Google Google Google and I found this recipe:Vietnamese Coffee Cupcakes by Chockylit which sounded delicious. Except I don't know how to get Vietnamese Coffee or one of those coffee presses in that post.

Well, I went for it anyway. Here's my version (making 6 cupcakes):

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup dark brown and 1/4 cup white)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup flour minus 1.5 Tbsp
  • 3/8 tsp. baking powder (slightly less than 1/2)
  • A few shakes of salt from small salt-shaker
  • 3/16 cup STRONG coffee
  • splash of milk
  • 1/2 tsp coffee grounds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners or spray lightly with cooking spray
  3. Beat butter until soft.
  4. Add sugar-- I first added brown sugar and beat it, then the white and beat it some more.
  5. Add egg, beat for 30 seconds
  6. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a measuring cup, mix coffee and milk (should equal 1/4 cup when combined).
  8. Alternately add some flour mixture and coffee mixture to the butter mixture; beat until combined. ****Add the coffee too fast will make the batter look funny--"curdled" so do it slowly.
  9. Stir in coffee grounds.
  10. Taste. (It does have raw egg(s) in it, so taste at your own risk)
  11. Scoop into lined/greased cupcake pan--it's only making 6, so I recommend using the middle 6; how full depends on how tall you want the cupcakes; Mine filled a little more than half way.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick/fork/cake tester comes out clean.

I did not, however, use the whipped cream recipe that is with the cupcake recipe. I'm just not a fan of whipped cream.
So, I made a Mocha frosting that I adapted from a previous choclate frosting made with Bailey's Irish Cream (this is enough for frosting to cover 6 cupcakes).

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • Cocoa powder
  • STRONG brewed coffee
  • coffee grounds (optional)
  1. Beat butter until soft and slightly fluffy
  2. Beat in 1/4 cup powdered sugar, add some cocoa powder.
  3. Slowly add in coffee (again, it will look curdled if put in too fast)
  4. Continue adding sugar, cocoa, and coffee (beating well between each addition) until you reach your desired consistency and flavor.
  5. Taste.
  6. If desired, sprinkle in some coffee grounds. I stirred in about 1 tsp. It gave a nice texture that you barely notice when the frosting is one the cupcake.
  7. Taste again.
  8. Apply to completely cooled cupcakes with pastry bag or a knife.

  • I believe brown sugar gives cupcakes a more complex flavor; just like chocolate chip cookies are different than a sugar cookie because of the brown sugar. The original recipe calls for only white sugar so choose whichever you have/want.
  • While I list preheating the oven first, it's not necessary; it honestly depends on how long your oven takes to preheat and how long you take to mix everything.
  • I do always line my pan before mixing.
  • I also always get all of my ingredients ready before starting (that includes before preheating the oven). That way I know I have what I need before I'm halfway into a batter and realize I have no baking powder or something.
  • I know the frosting does not have measurements for cocoa, coffee, or coffee grounds. Add as much or as little as you want. You're the one eating it.

All cupcakes should be made with love. If you aren't loving it, it will show up in the results. Enjoy the process; ejnoy the result!