This is yet another one of those instances where I'd like to smack myself in the forehead and say, "You dummy! Why haven't you thought of this before?!" Mocha cupcakes -AND- latte buttercream?! Can you say, "Heaven" for a coffee-junkie such as I?! Oh, such a yummy combination! I have truly become quite the SMBC addict - I have yet to try a variation I didn't like!
Cupcake Ingredients: (Makes appx 24)
3/4 cup strong hot coffee
3 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup dark cocoa
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners
Whisk together coffee, espresso powder and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside. Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined. Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture. Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in sour cream.
Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.
Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Either 1 scraped vanilla bean -or- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 4 tsp hot water, let cool before adding
Pinch of salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar on paper towel, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla, vanilla beans (or paste) and salt, mix well. Slowly add in cooled espresso/water mixture – it will take just a little while for this to incorporate fully, give it some time! You can scrape your bowl once or twice and whip well, then fill your piping bag and enjoy!! (For those interested, I used the Wilton 2D tip to achieve the look in the photo.)
I topped my cupcakes with dark chocolate coated espresso beans for even more coffee kick :)