Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but if I could send coffee a Valentine, I just might have. Yes, I said hopeless romantic. I cry watching Gone with the Wind, I never tire of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth coming to the realization they’re in love with each other, and it saddens me that pen-on-paper love letters have gone by the wayside. What I love most though, about being romantic at all, is that sometimes romantic is all about the little things.
I know that with Valentine’s Day close on the horizon, there are people getting all worked up about how it’s just another day, and how everything’s overpriced, and how you should show someone you love them every day and not just one day because Hallmark needs the revenue. I don’t disagree.
There are ways to show people you love them that don’t involve any of those things, and you should show the people you love how you feel every day. One of the ways I show people I love them is by making them delicious baked goods. Since I love coffee so much, and since one of the best ways friends show me they love me is by always making sure I’m properly caffeinated, I thought mocha cupcakes with an espresso buttercream frosting would be a great way to express my affection. I was correct. I do wish the coffee flavor came through a little better in the cake, but the espresso powder in the frosting makes up for it. So all in all, these mini cupcakes were a nice end to a fantastic steak dinner and just one of the little things I did to show my Valentine that I care.
Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting
for the cake:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup whole milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
for the espresso buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. espresso powder, divided
Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cupcake pan (either mini-cupcakes or regular sized) with paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.
Beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat until combined.
Combine the milk, brewed coffee, and vanilla in a measuring cup.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, mix 1 1/2 tsp. of the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, waiting until each addition is mostly incorporated before adding the next one.
Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer speed to medium high and whip for a minute or two until fluffy.
Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to whip on medium-high until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp. of espresso powder and whip for 1 minute until incorporated.
Makes 48 mini-cupcakes.