Coffee grounds, cold french-pressed coffee, vanilla extract and cocoa powder might be my new favorite additions to my standard buttercream frosting. I love standard buttercream but sometimes you just need to change it up a bit, right? Well, I wanted to make a mocha-inspired frosting and and the results were delicious.
1 3/4 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large whole eggs plus 2 egg whites at room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups beer (I used Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout
3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 cup room temp or cold brewed coffee
1 tablespoon of coffee grounds
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (unsweetened dark or light works)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 vanilla beans (insides scraped)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin or cupcake tray and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa nibs and set aside.
2. With a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium to high speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the whole eggs (one at a time) then the egg whites. Add the vanilla extract and scrape the sides of the bowl down. Reduce speed to low and start adding the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the beer. Mix until just combined.
3. Pour in batter using a cookie scoop or a spoon into the prepared cupcake tray, filling only 3/4 of the way. Bake, rotating one halfway through baking, for about 20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, it’s ready. It should also be slightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from tray. Cool completely before frosting.
4. To make the frosting beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes until fluffy and start adding powedered sugar in 1/2 cup incriments, making sure to sift the powdered sugar so it doesn’t make the frosting lumpy. After you have added about 2 cups of frosting, add the cocoa and coffee grounds and vanilla beans to the mixture. Add another cup of sifted powdered sugar and start adding in the brewed coffee. Add the coffee in while the machine is on making sure to keep a close eye on the “loose-ness” of the frosting. Before you start adding the wet ingredient it was thick and when you introduce the coffee it will begin to thin out the frosting and the trick is to not allow the buttercream to break. If the frosting starts to look soupy stop adding coffee and add a little more powdered sugar. By this time you should start tasting the frosting to see if you want to add more powdered sugar because it tastes too buttery to you or if it’s spot-on. I usually prefer buttercream to be a little less sweet but everyone has their own tastes and there is no real exact science to how much powdered sugar to add since it depends on taste.
5. Put the frosting in a frosting bag with a star tip (or use a ziploc bag with the corner cut-off) and frost the cupcakes from the outside of the cupcake to the inside so it finishes with a frosted peak in the center.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Lasts: 2-3 days in airtight container
These cupcakes were great! The cake was airy and light with a slightly sweet malty undertone without being overly sweet. The frosting was ridiculously delicious with it’s strong flavors of coffee and chocolate with the little crunch of the coffee grounds. The cocoa nibs in the cupcake helped carry the chocolate theme throughout the cupcake and it was a nice balance of flavors. They were a big hit at my work!