Saturday, 3 March 2012

Coffee Cupcakes - Literally!

So you know how an idea pops into your head, and then you can't think of anything else until you've done it...or at least tried it?  I was in a cafe a couple of weeks ago and thought how fabulous it would be if you served coffee cakes in a coffee cup - either a demi tasse or one of those take-out espresso cups.  So, I asked the cafe they would consider donating a couple of cups to the cause (that was a big fat "No") then ended up buying 6 of them....obsession is a terrible thing!  Of course I had to have a go at replicating some of the more recognisable coffee combinations and these two were the most successful:

 Classic Capuccino on the left and Very Vanilla Chiller on the right.

This is a 2 egg mixture (see the Cake Mix Matrix) which will happily make 6 quite large cupcakes in these cups plus some extra standard or minis.  I also substituted the milk from the base recipe for dissolved coffee so that the consistency wasn't too soft.
For the base cake:
2 eggs
50g / 2oz unsalted butter - softened
50g / 2oz caster or superfine sugar
130g / 5oz plain or all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tblspn instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tblspn hot water then allowed to cool
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / 350 F.  Either place your free-standing espresso cups on a baking sheet, or line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs in 2 batches) until they are incorporated.
  3. Seive together the flour, baking powder and salt then add to the butter/sugar mixture all in one batch.  Beat only until all the ingredients are combined.  Add the cooled coffee and stir briefly but thoroughly with a spatula ensuring that there is no unmixed batter left at the bottom of the bowl.  
  4. Fill the espresso cups about half full or cupcake cases 1/2 - 2/3 full.  Bake for approximately 20 mins or until they pass the clean toothpick test (depending on your oven).
  5. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

150g / 6 oz unsalted butter - softened
450g / 1lb icing or confectioners sugar sieved
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
Milk (to achieve a piping or spreading consistency, between 1 tsp and 1 tblspn)
Drinking Chocolate powder - for sprinkling on the Capuccino cakes.
  1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar on slow.  If you're using a free standing mixer you may want to drape a clean hand towel (or something similar) over the mixer until the sugar has stopped rising in clouds!  Increase the speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes until the mixture is very pale and fluffy.  
  2. Reduce the speed to slow and add the vanilla plus a tiny amount of milk until the consistency is that of spreadable cream cheese.  
  3. For the Capuccino cakes, spread the icing over the cupcake and sprinkle with drinking chocolate powder.  
  4. For the Vanilla Chiller cakes, pipe a swirl of icing (I used a medium open star tip) onto the cupcake and garnish with a piece of drinking straw!

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