I recently took a cooking class called "The Art of Cupcakes," by Chef Wynton Mann (you can check out his site at www.wyntonsworld.com), and it was so much fun! We made five different types of incredibly delicious cupcakes: these, pumpkin cupcakes with maple and ginger buttercream frosting, banana nut cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting, chocolate cupcakes with strawberry mascarpone cream cheese-filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting, honey pear cupcakes with white chocolate and pistachio buttercream frosting. I know you're probably drooling right now just reading over that. Imagine actually biting into them. They were all sooo good...not one of them was even close to forgettable. And none of the recipes are available online, so I guess you'll just have to make them all from my blog(:
Of all the cupcakes we made in the class, these are tied for my favorite with the honey pear cupcakes. If you like coffee, then you will LOVE these cupcakes...especially the frosting. Oh my goodness, the frosting is so rich and the best coffee-flavored thing I've ever tasted ---> I would totally eat it straight with a spoon.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
For the Vanilla Cupcake:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 oz. butter, at room temperature.
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the chocolate covered espresso beans:
1/3 cup roasted coffee beans
1/2 cup chocolate chips (good quality...like Ghiradelli)
For the Tiramisu Filling:
3 large egg yolks
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup dark rum
1/8 cups espresso coffee
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
For the Frosting:
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
4 oz. butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In another bowl cream butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; add in lemon zest; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
For the Filling:
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and light yellow. Lower the speed to medium and add 1/8 cup rum, 1/8 cup espresso, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.
For the Frosting:
Pour the milk into a small glass bowl and heat in the microwave oven on high power for 30 seconds, or until very hot. Stir in the coffee granules until they dissolve. Set the mixture aside. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds. Alternating, add the coffee mixture and the rest of the sugar, beating on low speed until smooth. Add more sugar if the frosting seems thin. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until lightened, 1 to 2 minutes more.
For the beans:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until liquid and smooth. Drop in a handful of beans, and stir them around. Scoop them out with a spoon, and set them out on waxed paper. Keep them separate. Continue until all the beans are covered. They will harden overnight, or if you are in a hurry, you can freeze them for about half an hour. Once hard, they won't stick together and can be stored in any air-tight container.