I initially set out to make a loaf cake but somehow it morphed into these cupcakes! Funny how that happens, huh? Ha! Anyway, it’s been a while since I made a batch of cupcakes, and so I decided to go all out with them and stuff them in the middle with coffee whipped cream, which turned out soo good! I had to step back from the mixer bowl with my spoon, it was so good.
The recipe itself is a reworking of a muffin recipe I made a few years ago. For some reason, I tend to go for muffins more than cupcakes, but I think the reworking of the recipe is an improvement. The malted milk powder and blackstrap molasses, as well as the use of one whole cup of cold brew coffee, add subtle differences to the original muffin recipe. The coffee whipped cream though is literally at the cupcake’s heart, and its crowning glory.
I chose to add cream cheese to the whipped cream, because I’ve heard and read that it gives whipped cream a stability that allows you some time between when you pipe the whipped cream and when you actually serve them. And it really only gives the whipped cream a slight tang. It’s not obvious it contains cream cheese. You can always omit the cream cheese, but just know that the whipped cream will start to get runny and not hold its shape after an hour. I also chose to keep the cupcakes “naked”; that is, I didn’t want to put them in cupcake liners. I wanted them to mimic how some coffee drinks are served in glass so you can see the contrast between the color of the drink itself and the foamy top.
The cold brew coffee is, of course, optional. Not sure if using cold brew makes a difference in this recipe, but if you’ve never had it, I urge you to try it, and if you can try it “nitro” style, that is, dispensed from a whipped can canister with N2O, you will not be disappointed. The nitrous oxide imparts a perceived sweetness without adding any actual carbs or calories, and the extremely tiny bubbles that result from using a whipped cream canister make the cold brew coffee similar in appearance to a Guinness Stout (beer). Some people prefer cold brew over regular coffee because it’s less acidic and has more caffeine. It’s now our preferred mode of getting caffeine in the morning, and it’s easy to whip up a whole gallon that lasts about a week for us!
coffee and cream cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup malted milk powder
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup coffee, preferably nitro cold brew
For the coffee whipped cream*:
1 Tablespoon nitro cold brew coffee (can substitute cold brew or regular coffee)
2 teaspoons espresso powder, plus more for sprinkling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups whipping cream, cold
*this makes a ton of whipped cream, much more than you need, even with putting them in the centers and tops. I could’ve really swirled towers on each cupcake, but chose to be conservative with it. Feel free to half the recipe if you don’t want to use a lot of it or don’t want the leftover coffee whipped cream tempting you later on to have it as an impromptu dessert! 😉
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13-14 muffin molds, or set paper liners. Set aside.
Sift together the first five ingredients–all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and milk powder–into a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in another bowl, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until incorporated. If the molasses is cold because you store it in the fridge, the butter will curdle, sort of. I think the batter will still turn out good cupcakes, but I thawed out my molasses the batter looked a lot better so use room temperature molasses for best results. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
Alternate adding the flour mixture with the nitro cold brew coffee (or regular coffee). Start and end with the flour, so that means, you’ll add the flour mixture in three parts versus two parts of the coffee. Mix on low, and do not overmix.
Fill each mold with about 1/4 cup of the batter. I know that 13-14 cupcakes is an odd number, and you may be tempted to divide the batter between an even dozen since most trays have a dozen muffins molds to them, but don’t! Try not to overfill. If you put too much batter in one mold they will spread out too much at the top and that makes it difficult to remove from the tray without some of them breaking off on the sides!
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Mine were ready right at 20 minutes, but ovens vary, so start checking at the 18 minute mark. Do a toothpick test, or just estimate based on it not looking wet in the top middle part of each muffin. Usually, the inner molds of a muffin tray take longer to bake.
For the coffee whipped cream, add the nitro cold brew coffee (or regular coffee) and espresso powder to a small bowl and stir together to dissolve the espresso powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl whip the cream cheese until cream cheese is smooth. Turn beater to medium-low add the whipped cream in a steady stream and continue to beat until all the cream is added. Turn up to medium-high and slowly add espresso and coffee mixture in a steady stream. Then add the powdered sugar in small amounts, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
If you haven’t cut out the tops of each cupcake but want to stuff each cupcake with whipped cream, place the bowl in the fridge(or freezer, but just for a short time).
To stuff each cupcake with frosting, cut a small circle at the top center of each cupcake and cut down towards the center of the cupcake and lift it out like a cork or cover. Trim the bottom triangular part just underneath the cutout circle, and set aside the circle to use as a cover. (Eat the scraps!)
In each hole, make a space for the cream by pressing down cake to the bottom of the cupcake, being careful not to make a hole at the bottom. Spoon a little of the coffee whipped cream to the small room you’ve created in each center and place the reserved trimmed circle that you cut out earlier.
Frost the tops of the cupcakes with the whipped cream any way that you want. I put the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large #1M star tip. If not serving right away, store covered in the fridge. Finally, just before serving, sprinkle each of the tops with a small amount of espresso powder, if desired.