Espresso and Cream Cupcakes

These cupcakes taste like you’re eating a doppio espresso con panna. That is two shots of espresso with whipped cream if you haven’t tried it, and that being said it has a very strong espresso flavor. The espresso syrup is necessary to achieve the coffee taste, otherwise the base of the cupcake will just taste extremely chocolaty…but not coffee-y. The lightly sweetened whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment to the rich decadence of the cake.

For the cupcakes:
3 cups white sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate, your choice)
**6 oz hot espresso
3 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Espresso syrup:
**3 oz espresso
3/4 cup white sugar

Whipped Cream:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1-2 tbs coarse ground coffee (note: do not use instant espresso)
1-2 tbs fine grain sugar (sweeten to taste)
1/2 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
3 tbs milk

Yields 32 cupcakes
**I used the latte shot on my espresso machine which ends up being 3 ounces each. If you get a regular shot from Starbucks they are 1 ounce each. If you get 6 shots from Starbucks or another coffee joint, I can’t vouch for how the cupcakes will taste but I’m thinking they’ll just have an even stronger coffee flavor. If you’re nervous about using so much espresso, trying doing 3 oz espresso and 3 oz of coffee.

Cupcake Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with liners.
2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Place chocolate and espresso in a medium bowl and let stand until chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool a bit, then add the vegetable oil, vanilla, then buttermilk. Whisk again until smooth.
4. Beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened. Add the chocolate buttermilk mixture slowly, being careful not to cook the eggs if the mixture is still very warm. Blend completely. Add dry ingredients in 2 parts on low speed until just incorporated.
5. Fill liners 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes. Cupcakes are done with toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan until easy to handle (about 7 minutes) and place on wire rack to cool completely.
6. Using a toothpick poke 3 holes in each cupcake. Be careful not to poke all the way to the bottom since this might pierce the liner. Spoon a small amount of espresso syrup onto top of cupcake, using the back of the spoon to gently press the syrup into the cake. Let the cupcake cool completely before frosting with whipped cream.

The cupcakes with syrup before whipped cream.

Espresso Syrup Directions:
1. Combine espresso and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Lower to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes until thickened. Let it sit off the heat for about 30 minutes until it is no longer hot.

Whipped Cream Frosting:
1. Stir and dissolve 1/2 packet of gelatin into milk. Combine cream, coarse coffee, fine grain sugar, and gelatin mixture in Kitchen-Aid. Beat into stiff peaks.

These cupcakes should be kept chilled until served. Ideally you should serve them right after frosting with whipped cream!

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