There’s nothing special about these cupcakes except that they are very delicious. My most popular posts are for things that are vegan but these puppies were made on the fly, as a thank you to some people who had helped me out, so I stayed pretty traditional.
I had forgotten how much I loved the way instant espresso livens up both a batter and a frosting. Take your classic buttercream (or “Earth Balance” cream), thin with cooled coffee, and the bite of the coffee makes a stunning counterpoint to the sweetness of the sugar.
Mocha Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Frosting
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup milk (soy, coconut, or almond are fine)
1/2 cup canola or other neutral (flavorless) oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cooled espresso or strong coffee (I use instant espresso)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s — not very chic but reliable)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt
1 stick butter or Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon of cold instant espresso or strong coffee
Preheat your oven to 350. Put cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin or cupcake tin. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar well.
Sift together dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, and cocoa) and add to wet — trying not to over beat. Bake about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick to the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in tin before removing to a cooling rack. You want the cupcakes to be completely cool before you frost the or the frosting will melt. Yields a dozen cupcakes.
Find a big, microwave-safe bowl and put in the Earth Balance (or butter) and chocolate chips. Nuke in 10 second increments, stirring between, until your chips are melted. Mine took forever because my mom bought me those “tropical” chips that rave about being lactose and gluten-free although most dark chocolate chips are both things. I think these chips are also suitable for tropical climes because they refuse to melt! Be careful not to burn your chocolate using the microwave method because it burns fast. If you are nervous about it, melt over a double boiler instead. That’s fool proof.
Once the butter (or Earth Balance) and chocolate mixture is smooth, use an electric beater to beat in the powdered sugar until you can’t see the powdered sugar lumps. Thin the mixture with the coffee — using just enough to make it spreadable. You can go for more of a sleek glazed texture by using more coffee — especially if aren’t afraid of the bitter!
This recipe makes ample frosting for a dozen cupcakes groaning with frosting but it could easily frost about 16 or 18 more thinly.