Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cupcake Hero: Cocoa-Swirled Coffee CupCakes

Cupcake Hero for May is cocoa powder. Actually, for a good portion of the month I thought it was just cocoa as in 'chocolate'. But then when I checked the site again it said 'cocoa powder'. Whew, glad I checked.

My initial idea was quite FABULOUS. So fabulous in fact that, as of now, at least two other CH bloggers did it!! It was the hot cocoa in a mug thing, baked in mugs. I found oven-safe mugs, had them all ready, figured I'd bake next week, toss some peppermint hot chocolate cocoa mix in there too, fly by the seat of my pants, fun times. But when one of the bloggers who did the hot cocoa idea was a good friend and she topped hers with *homemade marshmallows*, I knew I had to come up with Plan B...and fast.

A particular mango-loving friend was brainstorming with me and she mentioned that coffee and cocoa go are great combo'd, and have tied-in togetherness roots from the past. Since I love both coffee and cocoa almost equally, I thought, awesome. And who doesn't love coffee and chocolate for breakfast?? So the coffee cup cakes were born, baking directly into the coffee mug, this way I could still try that out.

I was going to add cocoa directly into the recipe to make it a Cocoa Coffee Cup Cake, but then I spotted the leftover cappucino chips from my TWD brownies this week ... and thought the idea of them mixed with Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder and a bit of heavy cream to make more of a ganache would be fab. Swirled it through the cup cakies before baking. More fun visually that way!!

Sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top before baking to give it that nice crunchy crispy top. After cooling, topped them with a Kahlua buttercream frosting and sifted with a Ghiradelli Sweetened Cocoa powder. I totally ruined my dinner sampling this thing at like 3pm on a Saturday and then not being able to stop eating it. The combination is quite intoxicating...or maybe that's the extra Kahlua I dashed in for flavor. Oops!!!

Cocoa-Swirled Coffee CupCakes

2c AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tblsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1c packed brown sugar
2 tblsp instant coffee
1 tblsp vanilla
1c lowfat sour cream
2 tblsp fat free milk
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs

Ganache for Swirl:
4 tblsp cappucino chips
3 tblsp heavy cream
4 tblsp unsweetened cocoa
Micorwave chips and cream for 45 seconds. Stir vigorously, sift cocoa in and whisk til combined. Let cool to texture and thickness desired for swirling.

Cinnamon, to taste
Turbinado large grained sugar, to taste

Kahlua Buttercream:
1 stick softened, unsalted butter
2-3c confectioners sugar
2 tblsp Kahlua liquer
(alternate for max flavor if you don't want the liquer, use vanilla bean paste OR coffee extract or both!! but seriously, the liquer is amazing in these!!!)
Cream butter in a mixer, add sugar til you get the consistency you desire for spreading or piping. Add extracts or liquer to finish.

For cakes:
Sift flour, bp, bs, cinnamon, pie spice, sugar, coffee together.
In another bowl, whisk sour cream, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla together.
Add the wet to the dry and mix until just moistened.

Scoop into cupcake liners or oven-safe mugs 3/4 of the way full. Put a healthy spoonful of glaze on each and use toothpick or cake tester to swirl into cupcake. Top each with a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes depending on your oven. If changing the baking method (aka loaf pan), modify baking time accordingly.

Frost cupcakes with kahlua buttercream in fun swirls, and sift sweetened cocoa on top. Garnish as desired. Eat!!

Tasting Notes.... absolutely love the coffee tones and the little visible dots of brown from my instant coffee through the batter. The texture is quick bready, so to me it's definitely a coffee cake in the shape of a cupcake. Since i used brown sugar the sweet is more subtle, so it works well with the cocoa and capp swirls. My hub liked that the cakes themselves were not too sweet. Adding the frosting gives it that bit of extra sugah for those who have the crazy sweet tooths. This recipe could be modified for more or less flour (to get a more cakey less bready cupcake) and/or more or less sugar, a blend of white and brown sugar, add pecans or walnuts, make a more traditional topping and skip the frosting, etc.

I also made a mini loaf of coffee cake for our morning breakfast once we devoured the Hero mugs...yum. Oh and I didn't get any good inside shots...the swirl was devoured into the 'brown' cake...oh well. Awesome with actual really brings out the subtle flavors in the cake. YUM.


dobetter said...

Oooo, beautiful photos! Great looking cupcakes. I'm sure they taste great.

Grace said...

these little buggers pack a double whammy--ridiculously gorgeous and awesomely delicious. you do nice work. :)

CB said...

I am in love. Fabulous entry! Looks like I better put my thinking cap on if I wanna win! Can you say procrastinator? haha.

slush said...

They sound amazing! Kick ass entry! Thanks so much! xo~ laurie

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

These look SO yummy! I should've done cupcake hero this month. Last month's theme was kinda lame in my opinion.

I only made the mousse once. I don't think I whipped the cream long enough. Ever since I over-whipped some cream and turned it into butter about a year ago, I've been intimidated by heavy cream. The mousse never set up so it went straight into the trash.

Janna said...

The pictures are great! You did a wonderful job with the photography. The lighting is perfect.
I am sure your cupcakes are wonderful. You have been all over the kahlua lately. hee hee. :)

Amy said...

Your pictures are fabulous! And the cupcakes sound divine!

Laurie said...

Mara..these are gorgeous!! Do you have a store? And your photo's look wonderful! :)

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Absolutely STUNNING Mara. For me, the combination of coffee with chocolate just ROCKS. Your pictures & write-up make the flavours come alive like magic!! I love the specks in the frosting too!! Beeeautiful!

Gigi said...

Very adorable! Chocolate coffee cupcakes in a coffee mug it!

madcapcupcake said...

I absolutely LOVE this idea - coffee and cupcakes are two of my favourite things. They can do no wrong.

Janet said...


OMG, these look delicious! What kind of mugs can be used? Can any mug that says 'oven safe' be used? will they crack? Beautiful photography as well, will be back!