Wooden Nickels came to visit a while back, and not only did we have a mother/daughter spat as soon as she walked in the door, but I also botched cupcakes I was saving to make for her arrival.
Oh and they were supposed to have mocha frosting.
Which is her favorite.
I found myself without powdered sugar on a random Tuesday night, which meant no frosting. And a cupcake without frosting isn’t actually a cupcake. It’s a muffin. Snooze! This particular conundrum left my mocha cupcakes chilling in the refrigerator for two days until I could run out to the store. By that time, Wooden Nickels had hit the road. Bad baker!
Don’t tell Wooden Nickels, but she missed out, big time. These cupcakes (though not the frosting) are a vegan riff on my favorite chocolate cake. The beauty of this cake, in case you’re not familiar, is that it captures the rich, dark, deep complexity that is chocolate. Think about all the box mix chocolate cake you’ve consumed in your life. Does it really taste like chocolate? Of course not. It has the texture, and the sweet flavor, and it’s brown. But it’s not going to satisfy a chocolate craving the way a square of the real stuff will.
This cake is like the real stuff. Coffee in the batter. It’s magic. And if you haven’t experienced that magic yet, then don’t worry if you’re not ready to commit in the form of a double layer cake. Commit in the form of cupcakes. At most, you have 4 or 5 bites to enjoy. You’re worth it.
To make a dozen chocolate cupcakes with mocha frosting, you will need:
For the cupcakes:
- 1 C coconut milk
- 1 T instant espresso powder
- 1/3 C canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1 C flour
- 1/3 C cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare muffin tins with paper liners.
Heat coconut milk in microwave until hot, but not boiling. Dump espresso and let seep for a minute or two. Whisk in sugar, oil, and vanilla. In separate bowl, sift remaining ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and beat till the batter is smooth. This is a liquidy batter, so I use the Queen Cupcake method of portioning out my cupcakes. I transfer the batter to a large measuring cup, and pour it into the individual muffin tins. Bake 18-22 minutes, and let cool completely.
For the mocha frosting, you will need:
- 1/4 C cocoa powder
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 1/2 C butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 3 T brewed, cooled coffee
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sift sugar and cocoa powder together. Beat butter with mixer till smooth. Add sugar slowly, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in remaining ingredients till frosting is smooth. Frost cupcakes. If you have them around the house, dunk in a bowl of chocolate sprinkles immediately after frosting.