I take my 4-year-old daughter to ballet classes on Tuesdays. She really enjoys it and has made a new friend in her class. It’s neat to see her perform some of the poses at home – one day she did a plie. Ballet term 2 is now starting after a 2-week long Easter holiday, and my daughter says she wants to continue with ballet.
Ballet class lasts only 30 minutes. Luckily, if I practically run, I can make it over to the nearby Westfield shopping center for a special treat for myself. I visit T2 Tea and sample all four of the teas they have on display that day and have a chat with the friendly ladies who work there. And then I do a fast-walk to get back to ballet to pick up my daughter.
As it turns out, my daughter also likes to sample the teas at T2 Tea, so before the holidays I started going to T2 before ballet class so she could try the teas too, and I sat in the lobby area of the ballet studio and read magazines while she was in her class. They only have a handful of magazines and always the same ones, but I did find an Australian Women’s Weekly magazine (from March 2009!) that I hadn’t seen before and flipped through the recipe section. I found some beautiful mocha cupcakes and read the recipe for them. I was immediately intrigued by it because it used real melted chocolate, almond meal and buttermilk.
When I got home, I searched the Australian Women’s Weekly website and found the recipe. Within the next week I had made them and said that they were the best mocha cupcakes I have ever eaten.
I’m not happy with my photos, yet again. But here we have the best mocha cupcakes ever, frosted with coffee buttercream and decorated with a chocolate covered espresso bean. Let me tell you that these absolutely require a chocolate covered espresso bean, they taste amazing when you eat them along with a bite of the cupcake.
I ended up using hazelnut meal instead of the almond meal. And you can sort of taste this in the cake. As with any mocha cake I’ve ever had though, you cannot taste the coffee. Remember my tip from my white chocolate mocha cupcakes though – if you want the actual cake to taste like coffee, a good idea would be to fill it with coffee flavored ganache.
I used Lindt 70% chocolate for the melted chocolate, and I had just enough Green & Black’s cocoa powder left to use in these cupcakes.
For the first time in ages, I also used real buttermilk instead of the vinegar + milk substitute.
For the coffee in this, I didn’t use regular instant coffee granules. I chose a special espresso-style instant coffee from Nescafe. I don’t know if this made the difference, but the coffee flavor in that buttercream is intense. It seriously tastes like you’re drinking a cup of coffee when you eat these cupcakes.
Try to let these sit overnight before eating them, if you can, because I think the flavor is even better on the next day.
My final word, if you’re after some fantastic mocha cupcakes, this recipe is definitely the one to use.
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- ¼ cup (60ml) hot water
- 125g butter, softened
- ¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
- ⅔ cup (80g) almond meal (I used hazelnut meal)
- 125g dark chocolate, melted
- ¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk, room temperature
- coffee beans, to decorate, optional
- For the coffee buttercream:
- 3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- 1½ tablespoons hot water
- 185g unsalted butter, softened
- 2¼ cups (360g) icing sugar, sifted
- For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole, ⅓-cup (80ml) capacity muffin pan with paper cases.
- Combine coffee granules and hot water in a cup. Stir until dissolved.
- Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions.
- Fold in half of the combined sifted cocoa and flour, all the almond meal and then the chocolate. Fold in the buttermilk, remaining flour mixture and the coffee mixture.
- Divide mixture among paper cases. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool cakes on a wire rack.
- For the coffee buttercream:
- Combine coffee granules and hot water in a cup. Stir until dissolved. Beat butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until as pale as possible. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar, all the coffee mixture, then the remaining icing sugar.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle, decorate cakes with Coffee Buttercream. Top each cake with coffee beans, if desired.