These tasty cakes were the last treats I made this summer for the students at OMBC. It had been an especially trying day, as I faced closed doors concerning housing, loans and moving logistics. I was frustrated and irritable and decided I needed to bake. I scoured my pinterest cupcake board for inspiration and decided on this fantastic recipe from Annie's Eats.
Meticulously measuring out the ingredients calmed my frenzied spirit. The sweet aroma of espresso powder and sugar dissolved my frustrated exterior into a vulnerable state. Now I don't know about y'all but God speaks to me through food. Alone in the kitchen, my guard down, God began to surround me with His presence.
If you've ever made a swiss meringue buttercream (which is what this recipe calls for), you know that even the tiniest can dissolve the beautiful, fluffy concoction into a soupy mess. I managed to whip the sugared egg whites into a perfect fluff, watched the butter thicken the concoction into a beautiful frosting. But then, for no apparent reason, the mixture broke down into a separated, ugly mess. The recipe assured me that if I kept mixing it, the frosting would come together.
And God whispered to me- it's not together quite yet. This frosting, your life. You can't see how things are going to work out but if you wait and have faith, they will.
Five minutes later, the frosting returned to its glorious state of light loveliness.
And you know what? Not everything in my life is answered for or makes sense right now. But all of the major things I was stressed over that night have been resolved! God is faithful.
Aside from the spiritual significance of these beauties, the flavor and texture are really divine. They have rich coffee flavor (I actually added more espresso powder than the recipe calls for). Buttery, light-as-air frosting balances the moist cake perfectly. One student even said these were the best cupcakes she's ever had!
What You'll Need:
(makes 18-22 cakes)
for the cakes:
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp espresso powder
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
for the frosting:
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp very hot water
What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Whisk to blend. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coffee, buttermilk, and coffee liqueur. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients alternating with the liquids, mixing each addition just until incorporated and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites and the sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean pods. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more. Remove about half of the frosting to a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the espresso powder and hot water and whisk to dissolve. Blend the espresso powder mixture into the frosting remaining in the mixing bowl until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fit a pastry bag with a large tip. Fill one side of the pastry bag with the vanilla frosting, and then fill in the other side with the coffee frosting. Pipe a test streak until you see both colors coming out of the tip. Frost cupcakes as desired, refilling the pastry bag in the same manner as needed.
Recipe from Annie’s Eats