Monday, August 20, 2012

Dark Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream

I get a lot of things from my dad. My brown eyes, olive skin, and “solid” build all come from him. My annoyingly obsessive attention to detail, dry sense of humor, and predisposition to mornings go to his credit too. While some of the traits I have gotten from him are genetic, I’ve also picked up a lot of learned behaviors from him over the years. Since I was a little girl I’ve been watching him and studying him and mimicking him – it’s only natural that some of his habits and traits would eventually become mine. For better or worse.

There’s one thing he does though that I will just not do. Never, ever will I be okay with doing this. Never, EVER. It is a habit so disgusting, so repulsive I can barely bring myself to write it (I’m really making you want one of those cupcakes up there, aren’t I?).

My father reuses day-old coffee.

There. I said it. And may have gotten a little queasy.

I just cannot get behind this cockamamie behavior. I adore coffee. Adore it. It is one of the reasons I get up in the morning. I am decidedly perkier just thinking about the prospect of the hot, black liquid filling my mug. My morning just doesn’t feel complete until I am properly caffeinated.

And lately, getting up at 4am has left me little time to enjoy one of my favorite morning rituals. I am not often afforded the luxury of getting up and going through a lazy, relaxed morning, slowly sipping coffee while I read or write. And by the time I get back from my shift, though some people have yet to wake and greet the day, for me, the moment has passed. I’m up, I’m attum. There is no going back.  

That has left my dad with the responsibility of drinking the morning’s brew. And although it is only the two of us, we can usually polish off a 12 cup pot in one morning, sometimes needing a second one. But, lately, without me around to pull my weight, some coffee is getting left behind. Left behind for the next morning.

“It tastes the same!” he tells me. “If you heat it up, it’s fine,” he says. “Psssh!” he scoffs when I tell him I don’t want to drink the stale, stagnant liquid and insist on a new pot. Don’t even get me started on what happened the time he saw me pouring day-old remnants down the sink.

To avoid further confrontation I have begun looking for ways to use up coffee by the day’s end.  These Dark Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream are one reason to get up in the morning. Using coffee, both brewed and instant, in the batter intensifies and compliments the chocolate flavor, without overpowering it. The frosting is light and fluffy, with a distinct coffee flavor and a sweet finish. Topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean, these cakes provide a wonderful jolt, morning, noon, or night.

Dark Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream (makes 16 – 18 cupcakes, adapted from my Chocolate Barbeque Sauce Cupcakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (regular would be fine too)

1 TBSP instant espresso or finely ground instant coffee granules

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup sour cream

½ cup brewed coffee, cooled

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa powder, and instant coffee; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated and fluffy, about 1 minute each, scraping bowl again. Stir in vanilla and sour cream until thoroughly combined. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until no streaks of flour are visible. Add in ¼ cup of the cooled coffee and mix until combined. Continue alternating 1/3 of the flour mixture and ½ the coffee, ending with flour. Scrape down bowl and make sure everything is incorporated.

Using a large ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup, fill liners ¾ of the way full and bake in preheated over 20 – 23 minutes or until tops are set and spring back when lightly touched.

Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool on a rack, in pan, for 5 minutes. Turn cupcakes out of pan and cool completely. Prepare the frosting while cupcakes cool.

Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow fluff

1 tsp. vanilla

1 TBSP instant coffee dissolved in 1 TBSP warm water

3 – 4 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup half and half

Cream butter and marshmallow fluff until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stir in vanilla and dissolved coffee, scraping down bowl if needed. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and half and half and begin to combined, starting with mixer on low and working up to a medium-high speed. Beat frosting until thick and fluffy, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add additional powdered sugar or half and half until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting and top with a chocolate covered espresso bean if desired.

Cupcakes can be refrigerated, unfrosted and wrapped in plastic wrap, for three days. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for 2 days. Remove 30 minutes before serving.

I like to drink my coffee and eat it too. 


  1. These look amazing! I love chocolate cake recipes that incorporate coffee - it makes them so much more delicious!

    By the way, I adore your cow creamer! So cute.

    1. Thank you! I have been tweaking my chocolate cake recipe and the coffee really knocked these outta the park!

      I got the creamer at a flea market for $4, I couldn't resist. It just makes cream that much cuter :)

  2. Yes, please! I've been adding a little bit of espresso powder to all of my chocolate desserts ever since the Barefoot Contessa told me to. It's science, food science!

  3. Haha I love this. I don't even like drinking coffee that is hours old and has to be microwaved. You should throw it in a pitcher with ice and put it in the fridge. Day-old iced coffee is OK! Or you could just keep making these delicious-looking cupcakes :)


    1. I've tried iced coffee - every possible way - and it just isn't for me. I don't know why. So for now it's hot coffee or cake...either one is good with me ;)