Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 29, 2007: Cappuccino cupcakes

To top off our indoor picnic, I baked a batch of Nigella Lawson's cappuccino cupcakes. This is only the second batch of cupcakes I've ever attempted, yet they seemed just the thing to enjoy on a checkered blanket in the sun. It was mighty tempting to team them with the espresso cupcakes on the facing page of the cookbook but with a final count of 9 people in attendance, it was more sensible to restrict myself to just the dozen.

I was hoping for a not-too-sweet coffee cake with bite, topped with something sweet and creamy, and was curious to try a cake batter that's made in a food processor. The method was as convenient as I'd hoped, but the flavours didn't quite live up to my expectations. The batter had a promising bitterness but it mellowed almost beyond recognition with baking. The icing, on the other hand, was the sweetest, sickliest thing I've encountered in years but I guess teaming icing sugar with melted white chocolate will do that, eh? I didn't use up the full quantity for fear of inflicting tooth decay on my guests. Still, I really like the concept of these cakes and I'd make the batter again with some extra coffee. The icing, on the other hand, needs a complete overhaul: I might attempt a lightly sweetened cream cheese next time.

Cappuccino cupcakes

125g self-raising flour
125g soft unsalted butter
125g castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee powder (try two!)
2-3 tablespoons milk

160g white chocolate
60g butter
120g sour cream
260g icing sugar, sieved

cocoa powder, to dust

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Put all the cake ingredients except the milk into a food processor and whizz 'em up until combined. With the motor still run, gradually add milk until the batter is smooth but thick. Arrange cupcake papers in a muffin pan and then spoon the batter into the papers. Bake for about 20 minutes, cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

Only start the icing when the cupcakes are completely cold. Gently melt the white chocolate and butter, then let it cool a little. Stir in the sour cream. Sift and stir in the icing sugar. Nigella suggests a bit of hot water or more icing sugar if the icing's too thick or thin. Spread the cakes with the icing and dust them with cocoa.


  1. cupcakes are perfect for a picnic - these are the sort of cakes that look so yummy that I would love to eat a few but coffee and super sweet icing isn't my thing! I am sure your friends appreciated them.

  2. Hrmm, wonder if these'll work with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

    Sorry, vegan musings.

    Love the blog by the way, came here via 'This Is Vegan Melbourne' - Harriet's blog.

    Will link you guys in my links and via post, as cross promotion rocks.

    Keep on bloggin',


  3. Johanna, the end result didn't quite push my buttons either but they all disappeared so can't have been too bad!

    Hi Simon, thanks for the supportive comment and link! I haven't tried the Tofutti substitute but would love to know how that goes for you if you try it.

  4. No worries. I'm a crap cook, but I'll give it a shot some time and let you know.

  5. Cindy, the cupcakes look great. Like you said though, teaming icing sugar with white chocolate does not sound like a good idea at all. I'm usually hesitant to put white chocolate as a topping as it is too sweet, but to add it to icing sugar as well, that's just tooth decay territory.

    I also think a cream cheese topping will work great. Usually I use the standard cream cheese topping from http://cupcakeblog.com/. This consists of about 250g cream cheese, 125g butter, 1-2 cups of icing sugar to taste, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. You can then add whatever flavouring you want to this. It works great.

  6. Thanh, thanks for including that recipe - I just might give it a go next time I'm baking! I like a bit of tang in my sweets, and cream cheese could be just the thing for it.