Did you know it was national cupcake week this week? I had no idea it even existed until OXO and The Happy Egg Co. contacted me and asked if I could create a cupcake recipe for the occasion and sent me a couple of their baking tools to help make them. It seems like there is a national week or day for pretty much every foodstuff nowadays...it all seems a little over the top and unnecessary to me to be perfectly honest but hey, it's a good excuse to bake some cupcakes!
I went for a somewhat grownup recipe for these ones, based on one of my favourite cocktails - the espresso martini. I added Kahlua and vodka to the cake mixture, brushed some over the baked cakes and added some to the icing, so needless to say they are not really suitable for children! I used one of my absolute favourite icings for these, cooked flour frosting, which is made in a slightly unusual way - you mix together flour and milk, cook it in a pan so that it forms a thick paste then leave it to cool. Then you whisk together butter and caster sugar until it is really light and fluffy and gradually whisk in the paste; the resulting frosting is ethereally light and smooth, and not overly sweet. To get the espresso martini flavour into the icing I replaced some of the milk in the paste with Kahlua, don't be tempted to try and add any extra alcohol into the frosting, or you run the risk of it splitting.
I was sent an OXO Good Grips stainless steel mixing bowl and a cupcake icing knife to make my cupcakes with; the bowl is very sturdy and solid, is dual layered to protect your hands if you are mixing something very hot or cold, and has a very handy non-skid base to stop it from slipping around while you are whisking. I decided to pipe the icing onto my cupcakes rather than spreading it so didn't use the cupcake icing knife, I did use it to ice my mini chocolate, nutella and hazelnut praline cake though and found it to be just the right size for icing a small cake; both tools will be getting a lot of use!
Espresso Martini Cupcakes
- 75 g (¼ cup + 1tbsp) softened butter
- 100 g (½ cup + 1tbsp) light brown soft sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 110 g (scant 1 cup) self-raising flour
- (rounded ¼ tsp) baking powder
- 50 ml (3 tbsp) Kahlua or Tia Maria
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) vodka (or more Kahlua)
- 1 tsp coffee extract I used Nielsen Massey
- 1 Tbsp strong hot coffee
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Kahlua/Tia Maria
- 1 tsp vodka
- 1.5 tbsp plain flour
- 40 ml (scant 3 tbsp) full fat milk
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) Kahlua/Tia Maria
- 65 g (generous ¼ cup) softened butter
- 65 g (⅓ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tray with about 8 cupcake liners.
- Whisk together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time whisking extremely well after each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk until just combined then finally mix in the Kahlua/Tia Maria, vodka and coffee extract.
- Divide the batter between the cupcake cases, filling them ⅔rds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee then stir in the Kahlua/Tia Maria and vodka. Brush each of the cupcakes with a little of the syrup.
- To make the icing, whisk together the flour, milk and Kahlua/Tia Maria in a small pan until smooth. Place over a medium-low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened into a very thick paste; scrape it into a small bowl, cover with clingfilm directly on the surface and refrigerate until completely cold.
- Whisk together the butter and sugar for several minutes until extremely light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the chilled paste a little at a time, whisking well after each addition, until it is all incorporated. Don't be tempted to add any extra liquid to the icing or it may split.
- Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle and pipe dollops or swirls onto the top of each cupcake, garnish with coffee beans (preferably chocolate covered ones if you can find them).
If you want more #NationalCupcakeWeek inspiration check out these Elderflower Yoghurt Cupcakes by Supergoldenbakes, Eaton Mess Cupcakes by Twigg Studios, Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes by Butter and Brioche, Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes by Vikalinka, Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes by Bright Eyed Baker or Quadruple Chocolate Cupcakes by me!