Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mocha cupcakes

October 6, 2011
After dinner at Purple Peanuts, I'd kinda been hoping to visit Cupcake Central for dessert. Alas, they were closed by the time we were ready to stop by. Even after arriving home I couldn't get cupcakes out of my head and so flicked through my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Turns out I had the pantry supplies to make plenty of these recipes! I decided to try out something similar to the suggested mocha variation on their basic chocolate cake recipe - Michael's a coffee lover, and even had the cold dregs of his habit sitting in the coffee plunger for me to use.

Halving the batter quantity and quartering the buttercream, I turned out 5 cupcakes and a little too much icing. There just wasn't as much coffee flavour going on as I'd hoped so after the cakes were cooked, I poked holes in them with a skewer and poured in a few extra teaspoons of cool espresso. Michael's coffee grounds were quite fine so I sprinkled some over the top as a garnish too. There still wasn't quite the bitter edge I was after but I've learned something for next time - I won't be shy about dumping a couple tablespoons of the ground stuff directly into the batter, as they're unlikely to be gritty.

Something I've been slower to learn is that these icings are just too sugary for me. Reducing the whole quantity is not enough; I've got to cut down the proportion of sugar within the recipe. The cakes, though, are terrific - so fluffy and moist. And I felt pretty clever whipping these up on a weeknight whim.

Mocha cupcakes
(adapted slightly from recipes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cold espresso
3/8 cup castor sugar
1/6 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup plain flour
1/6 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

1-2 tablespoons cold espresso, extra

1/4 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1-2 tablespoons cold espresso
1 cup icing sugar

choc chips and ground coffee to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake tray with 5-6 paper liners.

In a small bowl mix together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar, allowing them a couple of minutes to sit and curdle. Stir in the cold coffee, sugar, oil and vanilla under well mixed.

In a separate small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. Gradually beat them into the liquid mixture, getting rid of as many lumps as you can. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them three-quarters full. 

Bake the cupcakes until they pass the skewer test, about 18-20 minutes. When they're ready, keep poking multiple holes in the top of each cupcake and spoon over a couple tablespoons of cold espresso. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat together the margarine, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the cold coffee. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, adding more coffee if it becomes too thick. Spread the icing thickly on the cupcakes, then sprinkle them with chocolate chips and ground coffee.


  1. Oh how I love coffee-flavoured sweets! Almost as much as peanut butter treats. oooh, I wonder how mocha cupcakes with peanut butter frosting would go down...

  2. I hate the coffee flavour but often find I can get away with a bit of coffee in a chocolate cake because you can't really detect it - don't know how much you need for it to be obvious - but what you put looks like a lot to me! Though I love the dark chocolate look of the muffins

    I also dislike too much sweet icing - will be interesting to see how you go at reducing the sweetness if you experiment (I made icing on the weekend that was far too sweet for me but just delightful to sylvia)

  3. Yaaaaay for using more soy milk in cakes/desserts! I really have to try that one day! Though, I don't think I can be as dedicated as you to whip them up on a weeknight. Been wanting to make cakes with soy for the longest time! Will save this cake recipe for the holidays because it's got so many interesting ingredients, like ACV too?! Intrigued, intrigued... ;p

  4. Im not sure if you know about this but yesterday I discovered another cupcake shop in the CBD that sells vegan cupcakes. Its called joy cupcakes and its in an arcade just near the corner of Bourke and Exhibition. Definitely worth checking out! They do a poppyseed and polenta number thats vegan & gluten free too :)

  5. Hannah - me too! I'm too wimpy to drink the stuff but love it in sweets.

    Hi Johanna! Without the espresso poured over the cooling cakes, this would probably suit you just fine. :-)

    Hiya Winston! Yep, happy to keep injecting the soy milk into sweets. Vinegar often turns up in vegan cake recipes - I think it reacts with the baking soda.

    Welcome, Josephine Frances! Thanks for the tip - I had not heard about this place before.