Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mocha Cupcakes

I have wanted to make these mocha cupcakes from Martha's Cupcakes book for a while now, and have never really had a good reason to (I know, does one really need a reason to make cupcakes?).  I didn't want to make them just for my family since there is quite a bit of espresso powder in them, and while I'm sure each cupcake probably doesn't have that much the last thing I need is a toddler hopped up on sugar and caffeine.

We were hosting a Valentine's Day party for my kid's playgroup last week and I thought here is a good opportunity to make these since the kids have their own cupcakes for decorating and the Moms should appreciate a fancier cupcake.

The cupcake itself is delightful.  I'm not sure it actually has that much coffee flavour, but in terms of a good, moist chocolate cupcake it's bang on.  The coffee really seemed to bring out the chocolate flavours.  I had a major fail with the seven minute frosting for some reason.  I tried it twice and it failed twice.  No idea why, I've made seven minute successfully plenty of times, but whatever.  I did a coffee Swiss meringue buttercream instead.

Mocha Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Book

For the cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (not instant coffee)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
Whisk together cake flour and cocoa. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth and light. Add the brown sugar and eggs; beat until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt; beat to combine thoroughly.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Mix together brewed espresso and espresso powder; add to batter, and beat until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely be¬fore removing cupcakes.

For the frosting: (this didn't work out for me but I'm sure it would have tasted delightful)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure coffee extract

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230°F (110°C).
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230°F (110°C), remove from the heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons coffee extract, whisking to combine. Use immediately.

The Frosting I used:

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp espresso 

Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently and constantly until egg whites are hot (about 140 degrees) and sugar is dissolved, 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. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat smooth by machine. Beat in vanilla and espresso, a little at a time, and continue beating until buttercream is smooth, about 2 minutes longer.

Linked to Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday


  1. Don't you love Martha's Cupcake Book? I do. These mocha cupcakes look terrific!

  2. Hi, I'm your newest follower! That cupcake sounds and looks amazing! Looking forward to following you!!:)

  3. mmm, i love mocha. i wonder if decreasing some cocoa and substituting espresso powder would help

  4. Beautiful cupcakes. A sugar rush and a caffeine rush....I love it! :)

  5. Mocha is one of my favourite cupcake favours although I haven't tried this recipe yet. Also a little coffee and chicory essence goes a long way and isn't too difficult to source. x

  6. This looks amazing and my husbands family would just melt over a Mocha Cupcake...they are a bunch of coffee fanatics.

  7. These mocha cupcakes look delicious. Well, I guess we don't really need a reason to make cupcakes, especially when they are that delicious!


  8. I love swiss meringue buttercream! Your cupcakes look amazing!! So Delcicious!

  9. I think I need that cupcake book. I love cupcakes.. and I love Martha's swiss meringue buttercream! It's so delicious!

  10. Hello new follower here from Melt in your Mouth Blog Hop:) Look forward to following you and finding some good recipes


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