Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

A few weeks back, I got the chance to make my Chocolate Stout Cake all over again.  I was super excited for this, as I absolutely loved the cake the first time I made it, and I was ready for any excuse to make it again. The cake was just so good that it definitely deserved the chance to be made once more, and I was thrilled when I got a legitimate excuse to do so.  A close friend of the family was graduating from Cooper Union, and I was placed in charge of bringing a chocolate cake for dessert for his graduation party.  Naturally, I went with the chocolate stout cake, knowing that it would be a success, and it definitely was!  

The cake needed to be large enough to feed 40 people, which meant doubling the original recipe.  You'd think that it would be obvious that if I was to double the amount of cake that I was making that I would also double the amount of ganache that I needed to make as well.  It seems obvious, but for some reason...I didn't do that. I ended up making way more ganache than I needed, more than double, because I was afraid that it just wouldn't be enough.  I obviously ended up with a ridiculous amount of ganache left over when I was finished covering the cake, and I didn't want to just throw it all away.  I ended up just putting all the ganache into a plastic bag and throwing it into my fridge, saving it for some future baking project.

I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to use up the all the ganache that I had left over, but after making all those red velvet cupcakes and filling them with cream cheese frosting for my cousin's baby shower, I decided that ganache-filled cupcakes would be a really delicious way to go about solving this predicament.  I had seen people fill cupcakes with ganache by dropping a small amount of it into the center of their unbaked cupcakes, and then as the cupcakes bake, the ganache falls to the center, so that when you bite into it, you have an incredibly rich and chocolatey surprise waiting for you.  I thought this was an interesting technique, as it would allow you to avoid having to actually cut up the cupcakes after they were baked.  So much simpler!  Gotta love simple tricks like that!  The ganache trick didn't totally work as I wanted, and it ended up sort of dispersing throughout the cupcake instead.  I think it may have had to do with the fact that the cupcake batter was very runny, but I honestly didn't mind the results!  It was kind of nice to have little bits of ganache scattered throughout the cupcake, and since I still have so much ganache left over, I'll be sure to try this trick out again with a thicker cupcake batter, just to see if that helps. 

By now I'm sure you're aware of my battle with coffee; sometimes I love it, and sometimes I just can't stand it. Mocha however, is a flavor I really do love.  The chocolate helps to cut through the bitterness of the coffee, which is something that I really appreciate, as it allows for me to get just subtle hints of coffee here and there among a classic chocolate foundation that I've grown to love.  This cupcake starts out with a coffee infused chocolate base, that is so good, it might just rival the chocolate stout cake.  Up until now, that chocolate cake was my number one favorite chocolate cake recipe, but this recipe...this recipe is just fantastic.  It's incredibly moist and fluffy, and as weird as it may sound to say this...the texture resembles that of a boxed cake.  I don't know about you, but I really happen to love the fluffiness of boxed cake, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! Surprisingly, I wish the coffee flavor in the cake came through just a little bit more.  That may have been my own fault though.  I didn't have any instant espresso on hand, so because of this, in combination with my laziness, I ended up using instant coffee instead.  There was a very subtle hint of coffee flavor in the chocolate cake, but for it to be a true mocha cake, I think a little more of a coffee flavor was needed.  The cupcake was delicious, regardless. 

The frosting for the cupcake is just my go-to cream cheese frosting, which I've grown to really love.  To make the cupcake extra special though, I added some Kahlua to the frosting, just to help tie all the flavors together (you can of course leave the Kahlua out, but I think it worked perfectly with this cupcake).  What resulted was an incredibly moist and rich cupcake that people were just going nuts over!  

Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting
cupcake recipe from My Baking Addiction
frosting recipe adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


For the Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso granules (I used instant coffee)

ganache, for filling the cupcakes ***

For the Kalhua Cream Cheese Frosting

4 2/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 oz butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, cold
7 tablespoons Kahlua (you can alter the amount of Kahlua to suit your taste)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Briefly mix on low speed, just to combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.  In another small bowl, combine the 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso/coffe with the hot coffee, stirring to combine.  With the mixer running on low speed, slowly begin to add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients. With the mixture still on low, add the coffee mixture, and mix until just combined.  The batter will appear very runny, don't worry though!

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake tins.  If filling the cupcakes with ganache, drop about a teaspoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake.  Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar and butter.  Add the cold cream cheese, and begin to beat until everything begins to come together and becomes smooth.  Add the Kahlua to the cream cheese frosting (I did this tablespoon by tablespoon, until I was satisfied with the flavor of the frosting), and beat to combine.  Frost the cupcakes once they have cooled completely (I used a piping bag and an 807 Ateco plain tip), and garnish with chocolate curls if desired. 


***A note about the chocolate ganache: Because I used leftover ganache when making these cupcakes, I don't know exactly how much of it I used, or how much chocolate and cream would be needed to make enough to fill all the cupcakes.  Since you don't need too much, perhaps 4 oz of chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream would be enough.  Simply heat the cream and use it to melt the chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to cool in the fridge, during which it will become slightly firmer, and you can spoon it into the cupcakes.  If you have leftover ganache...well...that's never a bad thing!

Makes about 22 cupcakes


  1. black and white. The ultimate classics

    1. you can never go wrong with a classic!

  2. Just stumbled across your blog, but found these and they were fantastic. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes - and impressed you can maintain this while a full-time college student (though you're a senior...so maybe not that full-time!)

    1. These are one of my favorites, I'm glad you liked them! And haha, my schedule as a senior is a little more relaxed, mostly because I'm not in an arch. studio this semester, but it's still hard (and kind of fun) to find a balance between school work and blogging...I love it though, so I'm gonna keep at it! Thanks for reading!


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