The Perfect Espresso Cupcake

Sometimes I realize that life's best moments can be placed on a palate of colours, flavours, sights and smells, and then brought back down the road. Sweet and creamy frosting with a hint of coffee, and a soft and moist cupcake that melts in your mouth.... these bring back only good memories!

My sister was married last Thursday, and it was the most beautiful and joyful wedding I have been to in years. She met her man in Rome, and they share a love for fine art, fine scotch, and fine coffee. (I respect that deeply, just so you know.)

When we threw my sister's bridal shower last month, I wanted to create a confection that was pleasing to the eye and the palate, and would tell a story even as it tantalized the taste buds. Espresso cupcakes with buttercream frosting were the final decision.

I couldn't find a recipe that I was happy with, so I took my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe and adapted it. 

Without further ado:

Perfect Espresso Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Makes about 30 cupcakes (this recipe multiplies well)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
3 T instant espresso powder
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350, and line muffin tins with paper liners. 

Dissolve espresso powder in vanilla. 

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add sugar and continue to beat until very pale. Ad vanilla mixture and oil and beat. Reduce speed to low and slowly add half of the flour mixture, and then half the buttermilk, then flour, then buttermilk. The batter will be thin.

Pour to half-full in the muffin cups, and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops spring back lightly when touched. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool fully.

Frost when cool.

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 T vanilla
2 T dark rum (this cuts the sweetness of the icing sugar)
2 T instant espresso powder
Icing sugar

Mix the espresso powder with the rum and vanilla. Beat the butter on high speed with the shortening until it is white and fluffy. Beat in vanilla/rum/espresso mixture until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar until you get the consistency you want. You may add a couple of tablespoons of milk if you need to thin it down.