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Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special ‘Hit’

Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit Recipe
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Hosting dinner parties has been my love language since always. I tend to forget loads of things about people I love, but I will never ever forget their favorite dessert. I hosted Thanksgiving in advance for my friends only and made a special dessert for each of them. Of course, I didn’t make 6 cakes, but I made 6 different batches of cupcakes. So, get ready for the cupcake series – first in line are Creamy Mocha Cupcakes!

I made a small batch of each and these are for my best friend. She is a huge coffee lover, so no wonder there is espresso in a recipe. What gives the ‘special hit’ is Kahlua – coffee and rum-based liquor. The recipe is below!

What is Kahlua?

Kahlua is a coffee liqueur made of Arabica coffee beans, rum, vanilla beans, and sugar. This is probably the most famous coffee-based alcohol, and this was the first time I tried it. When you use it in the cake, like in this recipe, it enhances the chocolate flavor and offers distinct flavors of rum.

It has a strong coffee taste, with a touch of vanilla, and something like caramelly relish, I believe. It has dark color, due to black coffee beans and rum, but I soothed that flavor with a splash of milk. If you prefer it stronger, go for 100% liqueur. 

Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit Pinterest

How to Make Creamy Mocha Cupcakes?

The trickiest thing to make for these cupcakes is, undoubtedly, Swiss meringue buttercream. But, don’t worry, I had my fair share of curdled buttercreams, so I know a trick or two. Read on for the ingredients list and full recipe.

  • Flour – I used all-purpose flour, but I think cake flour would be fine, as well.
  • Cocoa – If you can, use high-quality cocoa for a fuller taste.
  • Sugar – I used white sugar for the batter and meringue, but now, as I’m writing the recipe, I regret not using raw or brown sugar in the batter. I think it would be great.
  • Baking soda – I opted for baking soda as a leavening agent. I find cakes with baking soda more delicious the next day, so they are perfect for preparing in advance.
  • Vinegar – Use any vinegar you have, it doesn’t matter. I used apple cider vinegar.
  • Oil – I adore olive oil and chocolate combo, but you can go for any variety you like.
  • Espresso – A shot of strong espresso makes the cocoa bloom!
  • Kahlua – Kahlua is a perfect ingredient to boost the festive atmosphere.
  • Milk – I added just a splash of milk, for a bit milder taste. You don’t have to, though.
  • Chocolate – I love using bittersweet dark chocolate, as it doesn’t smother the cocoa relish with sugar. I prefer a stronger, more raw taste of chocolate.
  • Eggs – Of course, you’ll need eggs for the batter and egg whites for meringue.
  • Butter – Butter is a base ingredient for frosting. You just have to love Swiss buttercream!
  • Heavy cream – Heavy cream is responsible for achieving the ideal consistency of ganache.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla extract in the batter and vanilla paste in the buttercream is the best combo!

Let’s get into the festive mood!

Step 1: Making the Batter

As with everything in life, I love to start with chocolate here, as well. In a large mixing dish, merry cocoa, chopped bittersweet dark chocolate, piping hot Kahlua, espresso shot, and a few drops of milk. Both Kahlua and coffee should be just below the boiling point, as the heat enhances the chocolaty taste.

Set the mixer on the low speed and mix it till smooth. Just for the heads up, the mixture is pretty liquid, so it will most likely splash around. Don’t forget to cover the bowl while mixing! Set this aside to chill slightly while you prepare the other elements.

In a second bowl, combine all the dry components: flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, and baking soda. In yet another bowl, whisk together the rest of the wet ingredients: eggs, olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla. 

Now, it’s the moment to fuse everything. I do it in two portions: I add half of the flour and half of the egg mixture into the chocolate and mix well to combine. Finish with adding another half of flour and eggs, and combine till smooth, and lump-free. The batter consistency is thinner than the one for pancakes.

Making the Batter for Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit

Step 2: Baking

Line your muffin tin and pour in the batter till ¾ full. Bake them for about 20 minutes at 350 °F (180 °C) or until the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it. Leave the cupcakes in the tin for about 5 minutes and arrange them on the rack to cool completely.

Baking the Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit

Step 3: Making the Espresso Ganache 

Mix Kahlua with instant espresso powder and microwave for about 30 seconds. You will need just a tad of this mixture for ganache, but save the rest for the frosting. In a bowl big enough to dip the cupcake in, place chopped chocolate and butter. 

Pour some hot Kahlua mix and give it a stir. Heat heavy cream to the boiling point, and pour over the chocolate. Fuse everything into a smooth-textured mixture and set aside to chill. You may be tempted to refrigerate it, but don’t, you’re going for a dipping not garnishing.

Making the Ganache for Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit

Step 4: Making the Chocolate Truffle Swiss Buttercream

As I said before, Swiss buttercream can be a tad tricky to make, but it is so worth it. It is the silkiest frosting you can make! Start by choosing a medium-sized saucepan, pour about an inch of water, and bring to a light simmer. In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites until frothy.

Place that bowl over the pot and whisk constantly. The steam will slowly melt the sugar, and you’ll get a smooth, glossy mixture. It is done when there are no sugar crystals left. Check it by smearing some mixture between your fingers.

Now, when you have the right texture, transfer it into a larger mixing bowl and mix on the highest speed for about 5 minutes. With a mixer still on high, start adding the butter, about 4 tablespoons at a time. After you add all of the butter, the mixture will look miserable, clumpy, and curdled, but that’s just what you need.

It’s the moment to pour in the leftover Kahlua mixture from the ganache and mix it at the highest speed. Scrape the sides as you go and the blend will quickly turn into silky, smooth cream. This is an ideal case, though, but let me tell you how to fix it when nothing goes as planned.

Making the Swiss Buttercream for Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit

My buttercream wouldn’t mix at all, no matter how long I mixed it, it stayed crumbled. The reason for that was too cold butter, so to fix that, you’ll need a touch of heat. Soften the buttercream over the steam bath and mix again. The buttercream will be perfect, I promise!

Step 5: Assembling the Cupcakes

Dip the top of the cupcakes into a slightly warm ganache. Frost the cupcakes generously (because the buttercream is AMAZING). Also, don’t refrigerate the cream before garnishing, thus you’ll have to do a steam bath. That’s it! I served it with a Kahlua spiced latte, it was a HIT!

Assembling the Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit

How to Store Creamy Mocha Cupcakes?

Mocha cupcakes are perfect for storing! You can store them assembled or in 3 components. You can keep them for 2 days tops at room temperature or 4 days in the fridge. If you decide to store everything separately, you’ll have to heat ganache and frosting a bit, but the texture will be superb (as the first time). Store them in airtight containers to keep the moisture in.

Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special Hit recipe 1

Creamy Mocha Cupcakes for That Special ‘Hit’

Author: Laura Bais
These cupcakes are PERFECT for this holiday season! They are rich, chocolaty, and rum-induced. My secret ingredient is Kahlua liqueur in the recipe, so check it out!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 pieces
Calories 445.1 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

  • 3 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet)
  • 1 oz cocoa
  • ¾ cup Kahlua
  • 2 tbsp espresso coffee
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 5.25 oz sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Bitter Espresso Ganache

  • ¼ cup Kahlua
  • 3 tbsp espresso coffee
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • ½ tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 3 oz heavy cream

Dark Chocolate Truffle Swiss Buttercream Frosting

  • 5 egg whites
  • cup sugar
  • 4 sticks butter (unsalted)
  • rest of Kahlua blend from ganache
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Instructions
 

Making the Batter

  • In a large mixing dish, merry cocoa, chopped bittersweet dark chocolate, piping hot Kahlua, espresso shot, and milk. Set the mixer on the low speed and mix it till smooth. Set this aside to chill slightly while you prepare the other elements.
  • In a second bowl, combine all the dry components: flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, and baking soda. In yet another bowl, whisk together the rest of the wet ingredients: eggs, olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Add half of the flour and half of the egg mixture into the chocolate and mix well to combine. Finish with adding another half of flour and eggs, and combine till smooth, and lump-free. The batter consistency is thinner than the one for pancakes.

Baking

  • Line your muffin tin and pour in the batter till ¾ full. Bake them for about 20 minutes at 350 °F (180 °C) or until the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it. Leave the cupcakes in the tin for about 5 minutes and arrange them on the rack to cool completely.

Making the Espresso Ganache

  • Mix Kahlua with instant espresso powder and microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • In a bowl big enough to dip the cupcake in, place chopped chocolate and butter. Pour some hot Kahlua mix and give it a stir.
  • Heat heavy cream to the boiling point, and pour over the chocolate. Fuse everything into a smooth-textured mixture and set aside to chill. Don't refrigerate.

Making the Chocolate Truffle Swiss Buttercream

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, pour about an inch of water, and bring to a light simmer.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites until frothy. Place that bowl over the pot and whisk constantly. The steam will slowly melt the sugar, and you’ll get a smooth, glossy mixture. It is done when there are no sugar crystals left.
  • Transfer it to a larger mixing bowl and mix on the highest speed for about 5 minutes. With a mixer still on high, start adding the butter, about 4 tablespoons at a time.
  • After you add all of the butter, the mixture will look clumpy and curdled. Pour in the leftover Kahlua mixture from the ganache and mix it at the highest speed. Scrape the sides as you go and the blend will quickly turn into silky, smooth cream.

Assembling the Cupcakes

  • Dip the top of the cupcakes into a slightly warm ganache. Frost the cupcakes generously. Enjoy!

Notes

Storing Tips
Keep the cupcakes 2 days tops at room temperature or 4 days in the fridge, in airtight containers.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 445.1kcalCarbohydrates: 32.9gProtein: 3.7gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 17.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 10.7gTrans Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 78.7mgSodium: 285mgPotassium: 132.4mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 24.6gVitamin A: 738.1IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 23.9mgIron: 1.8mg
Keyword chocolate cupcakes, Chocolate Ganache, chocolate truffle swiss buttercream, kahlua, kahlua liqueur, swiss buttercream

Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.

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