Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coffee Cupcakes: An Adventure in Baking with Ramekins

Coffee cream & walnut cupcakes, baked in ramekins to produce short cakes.

I don't know about you, but when I'm baking something, I write down the recipe with simple instructions and then take notes as I go. Sometimes I'll let an entry marinate a while (translation: I've done something more interesting after, so the notes and photos gather dust). It's only been a week, but my scribbly baking shorthand gets harder to decipher by the day. Let me try to interpret things for you.

I wanted to try out coffee cream and walnut cupcakes because they simply sound good. The Resident Taste Tester is a coffee drinker and I have been known to down a latte or mocha every now and then. The internet led me to where I found a deceivingly simple recipe accompanied by a banging photo.

I read a few reviews and decided to go ahead with it, but with the addition of one teaspoon of instant coffee stirred into the finished batter. During this baking excursion, I found out that the liners I bought didn't fit my cupcake tins at all, so I threw them in ramekins and came out with short little cakes. Not too shabby.

Batter before the walnuts are folded in.

Coffee Cream & Walnut Cupcakes
Adapted from Jane Hornby at

Yields 11 cupcakes

1 C (100g)  all-purpose flour*
scant 1 tsp  baking powder
1/4 tsp  salt
3 1/2 T (50g)  butter, soft
100g  light muscovado sugar
2 tsp  instant coffee + scant 1/2 C (100ml)  warm water
1 tsp  instant coffee, dry
1/4 C (25g)  chopped walnuts, extra to garnish

*the recipe calls for self-rising flour, but you can make your own by combining flour, baking powder, and salt

  1. Preheat oven to  355 F (180 C).
  2. Beat all ingredients except walnuts and dry coffee until creamy.
  3. Fold in walnuts and dry coffee.
  4. Spoon into 11 lined ramekins and bake 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcakes.
  5. Cool 5 minutes in ramekins and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Frost, garnish with walnuts, and enjoy!
Coffee Cupcake Reflections
Cupcakes baked in ramekins produce short cakes, which could read as more refined and less cutesy than the traditional cupcake shape.

I know, some of you looked at step 6 and pondered aloud, "What frosting?" Don't panic, your basic vanilla butter cream will do, just mix some instant coffee into the liquid portion, proceed as the recipe says, add more coffee to taste, and everything will be fine. "But how will the added instant coffee blend in?" Just let it sit for a few minutes and then stir. You're going to be fine.

This recipe does produce dense cupcakes, like the commenters had said. The flavor is nice and I would say the density is on par with carrot cake or banana bread. The chopped nuts have the pesky habit of sinking to the bottom, which wasn't as big of a deal with the ramekins producing short cakes, but you might want to chop them finely to suspend them in the batter. Also, stirring in that extra teaspoon of instant coffee right before you divide the batter  makes little pockets of more intense coffee flavor, which is lovely.

It's an okay recipe, and I do thank Jane for getting me to buy muscovado sugar, because it is really tasty. I don't think I'd use this particular recipe again unless someone requested it; it's not bad, it just doesn't wow me as a cupcake. The search for a solid coffee cake recipe continues...

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