This is my second month of Iron Cupcake. The ingredient for February is coffee. I was so excited when this ingredient was announced. Ideas started buzzing in my head. I made sketches and jotted lots of notes about flavor combinations: Asian iced coffee, caramel macchiato, vanilla latte, and so on. I challenged myself not to do a chocolate-coffee thing even though I knew it would be tasty.
I set lofty goals for this month: I was going to make at least 2 entries. But procrastination is my BFF… Entries are due the morning of Feb 24. (Yes, I realize that is tomorrow). So last night, I chose a flavor and set to work.
I love to get an iced coffee when I go out for Pho so a cupcake inspired by that Vietnamese iced coffee sounded perfect for this challenge. I had visions (and sketches!) of a 2-tone cupcake to mimic the sweetened condensed milk as it is poured into the strong coffee, and then I was going to fill it with a sweetened condensed milk filling or maybe ice cream. But I didn’t think it all the way through. I should have left out some of the sugar and probably used some instant coffee granules for flavor intensity and color. Instead, I followed a vanilla cupcake recipe and replaced the milk with coffee so what I wound up with was more of a regular “cup o’ joe”. It’s still good, kind of like a coffee ice cream flavor. But it isn’t as sexy as the two-toned number I had in mind.
The icing is a buttercream made with sweetened condensed milk instead of cream or milk. I took some into work today and those people who like coffee liked these cupcakes.
Cuppa Joe Cupcakes
adapted from Mark Bittman’s Vanilla Cake (in How to Cook Everything)
5 tbsp butter, softened
1 c. flour
5/8 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
scant 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee (like espresso)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or use paper liners.
2. Beat butter. Add sugar and beat 3-4 minutes or until it is light in color and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add vanilla.
4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
5. Add flour to the egg mix alternately with the coffee. Stir until smooth.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Sweetened condensed milk buttercream
adapted from Mark Bittman’s Buttercream (in How to Cook Everything)
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
4 c. confectioner’s sugar
8-10 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (or more as needed)
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1. Cream the butter.
2. Gradually work in the sugar, alternating with the sweetened condensed milk. Beat well after each addition.
3. Stir in vanilla and salt. If it is too thick to spread, add a little more of the milk.
Iron Cupcake details:
Voting will begin no later than Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. CST, at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner. Voting closes Friday, March 6 at 12 noon CST.
Additional prizes are supplied by these corporate providers: Head Chefs by Fiesta Products, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, Jessie Steele Aprons, the Cupcake Courier, Taste of Home books, and UpwithCupcakes.com.
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .