Who Needs A Coffee When You Have an Espresso Cupcake

So the second set of cupcakes I baked for the ‘Volunteer Reading Help’ cake sale at work were the Espresso Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book.

For the first time in a long time, I was smart enough to read the recipe a while before I started baking; so I knew that I needed to warm the milk first in order to dissolve the espresso powder and let it cool again.

A definite great start! The recipe then follows the standard Hummingbird route: mix all the ‘dry’ ingredients with the butter, then the ‘wet’ ingredients together, and finally whisk these in in two batches.

The batter was filled into cupcake cases and put into the oven for about 20 minutes. You can tell the cupcakes are ready when your kitchen starts smelling like a coffee shop!

 

While the cupcakes were cooling, I heated up some more milk and mixed in some espresso powder, ready to make the icing once it had cooled again – this time I was less patient and put the milk mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes.  The icing was made by mixing the butter and icing sugar and gradually adding the milk and whisking on high until smooth.

I used a Wilton 2D nozzle to create a whipped twirl effect on the cupcakes.  A while ago I was asked to make videos of how I ice cupcakes but I have either forgotten, not had the equipment or created rubbish videos.  For once, I managed to make a half decent video, which you can find here. Hopefully, it’ll give you a better idea on how I managed it.

For the final touch, I used small pieces of dark chocolate on top of the twirls.  The cupcakes were packed and sold the next day at the cake sale.  I actually bought one of these (as it just seems wrong to take one) and really enjoyed it.  I’m not the biggest fan of very strong coffee so was intrigued how these cupcakes would turn out and was pleasantly surprised.  The coffee flavour nicely offset the sweetness of the cupcake, the dark chocolate also giving it a nice kick.

The more of these coffee cakes I bake the more I like them. They are a great alternative to the really sweet options out there.

Advertisements

A Coffee Break in a Cake

I’m not the biggest fan of coffee, it’s too bitter a drink for my taste.  But everyone needs a coffee break, and there’s nothing like a piece of chocolate to offset the bitter taste of the coffee (any excuse for chocolate!) So I was intrigued as to how the Coffee and Chocolate Loaf would go down, so I baked it for the dessert for a dinner party we were having.

I started by whisking the butter and sugar together and adding the eggs one at a time.  Simple so far. Then I sifted the dry ingredients together and mixed the milk with the coffee… coffee? I forgot to brew the coffee! Aarrgghhh! In typical Diary of a Bake-a-holic style, I made what I thought would be strong coffee, and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool.

Once I deemed it cool enough to put into the mix, I started mixing everything together: adding a little of the dry ingredients, then a little of the coffee milk at a time.

The batter was finally ready to be poured into the pre-greased and pre-dusted tin and put into the oven for an hour.  I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down with some tea.

 

The cake came out of the oven looking like a big slab of dark chocolate… yum.  Although it did look tasty as hell, I was worried the dark colour meant it would also be bitter.  Ah well, there was nothing I could do now.

The dessert was sliced and passed round with the tea after dinner.  I felt a bit odd eating a coffee cake with tea – it just seems so wrong – so I had mine with milk.  Everyone enjoyed the cake but I think were worried about their figures – I wonder what it is about a chocolate cake that makes it seem fattier than a normal one?!

I thought the loaf was actually really, really nice, definitely not bitter. It went beautifully with my glass of milk and had a really lovely, rich taste – not too much chocolate, or too much coffee – but a nice mixture of both.  Definitely a new favourite!

Something for the Coffee Lovers

After the mini cupcake marathon a week ago, I’ve been a bit baked out and have avoided baking as much as possible and I managed to do so, until Sunday evening. I came home from a messy Saturday night out to be asked to bake a coffee cake for a few dinner guests, eek! The concept of any type of food, let alone cake wasn’t going down to well so I had a lovely afternoon nap (which was greatly needed) and got on to baking in the evening.

My best tip for baking would be: read the recipe all the way through first a LONG time before baking.  I thought this would be a quick and easy recipe and completely missed the part about making coffee and leaving it to cool.  Oops. I improvised and put the coffee in the fridge for 20mins to speed up the cooling process.

The next dilemma was the lack of butter; I needed a LOT of it and we didn’t have enough. As we needed a few other things for dinner as well, my lovely father offered to go out and get it all.  He came back with a guilty face and slightly salted butter; it was the only one there. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers. I separated enough of the unsalted butter for the icing and used the slightly salted butter to make up the rest of the batter mix.

The coffee, butter and sugar got whipped together before adding 8 eggs one at a time.   The flour and baking powder finally got whipped in and poured into the prepared tin and into the oven for 50mins.

The smell of the cake wafted into the living room while we were waiting for our guest and made us all incredibly hungry, especially with the hangover finally wearing off.  It  came out of the oven looking beautiful and was cooled for a bit before attempting to get it out of the tin.

This is the hardest bit for bunt cakes, as there’s no removable bottom or spring on the side of the tin to help with getting the cake out.  My tin also has dents to make a nicely shaped cake but unfortunately makes it that much harder.  I finally managed to tease it out but did lose a few tiny bits of cake.

The icing was made after dinner, just as another guest arrived just for dessert.  Some of the coffee made at the start was saved and mixed in with the vanilla frosting. I made the mistake of using enough coffee for a whole batch of frosting when I only made half of it; which made the icing quite runny. I ended up adding as much icing sugar as was needed to thicken it up enough again.  The icing got spread over the top of the cake and some dark chocolate was grated over it to decorate.

I tried to be fancy and sprinkle some cocoa powder on top as well but managed to get shake a bit too hard and get an uneven spread. One day I will learn to sieve these things well!

The cake was served up with tea for everyone else and with milk for me, as I couldn’t bring myself to have tea with a coffee cake, it just didn’t seem right.  I asked everyone for their opinions and got a series of ‘mm’s’ and grunts before being told it wasn’t sweet enough, didn’t need the icing, needed more icing, could use more coffee, could use less coffee…. This went on for a few minutes before I realised it was a terrible question to ask!

Other than the different personal tastes, the cake went down well. It’s not a very sweet cake and the icing gives it a nice balance.  If you do prefer less sweetness you could always veto the icing but I personally wouldn’t.  I’m not the biggest fan of coffee cakes but I really liked the taste of vanilla icing with a bit of coffee in it and the cake was nice and moist.  Will be making this cake again, even if it’s only to satisfy my mother’s coffee addiction!