The Blues and Coffee Cupcakes
Deferred Posting From: © July, 2010
I am so bad here in the past months about keeping up with anything that has to do with my life. I have been in the process of coming, going, and being in several states in several months, looking for a second home for winter months. Soon my life will settle down enough for me to be caught up and have everyone up-to-date. I also need to work at remembering to take pictures, I am trying to think of something that would evoke my artistic abilities (or those that I am working on) and call to mind anything that will make me remember to take pictures before food is gone.
Here is my tardy (I will call deferred-that covers all bases, I think!) by date blog on July 4th and Cupcakes:
A couple of days ago the news was playing in the background as I was working on one of my watercolors. I had to stop and think about what I had just heard. The meteorologist was saying that we had hit 75 degrees today and it had been 270 days since we last saw that temperature. I knew that it had been awhile, more like a couple of lifetimes since I had felt warm here in Washington state. The rain, fog, and a light drizzle to mist has gone on for what seemed time unending making its presence known most hours of most days, for weeks, and months too on end this past autumn, winter and spring. This is not the ideal place to live if the cold, wet, grey dreary days influence your health. I then took the time to watch the rest of the forecast, it seemed we would be getting a good day every other day for the near future. When we have a “sun” day here, everyone stops everything and takes in as much of the bright light as they can get. We are very appreciative of the sun’s brilliance and the warmth that one can only get sitting and soaking in the direct sunrays.
It seems that most summers do not start here in the great Northwest weather “wise” until after the 4th of July. That is but seven days, a week from today, until we can hopefully put up our sweaters, sweatshirts and flannels. Our short sleeves and thongs are ready to wear and I am more than ready for the summer to begin. I heard a joke the first year I lived here that I have never forgotten, Washingtonians do not tan they rust. I found out that first season just what they meant. The like new umbrella (s) that I had been using for years had completely worn out after the first year that I lived here. Having been here now for a couple of decades (+), I have learned that I do not need an umbrella. We still have picnics; where in other parts of the world where I had lived, rain could have meant cancellation.
I have noticed another mystery besides the missing socks on laundry day it is the missing sunglasses. I am still trying to remember when was the last time I used them and where did I leave them. When I figure that out, I will maybe find them or maybe another pair, of sunglasses only to wonder how long they had been missing and when did I buy this pair?
The weatherman has said he has a special line we can call when the weather gets to us. He called it the, “Whine Line.” How apropos for the conditions we have been living with.
When summer finally starts, I do not want to eat hot soup until this coming fall. We have had more than our fill of every kind of soup one can imagine. I have one week to get my act together. I have a picnic to plan, decisions to make for the menu and then finding the right recipes. Then I have the shopping and prepping to do to get ready for our big day, it is going to be a really good week. This week is going to fly by. In seven days, we will be celebrating our countries independence and the beginning of lots of fun in the sun.
Seven days came and went, July 4th was very similar to what we have been living, not much sun, but we had a very special day indeed. We did not have the picnic and barbecue that we had hoped but spent some time with friends. There was lots of good food and fun to be had, and we each enjoyed ourselves immensely. I was asked to bring something simple for desert. I decided on cupcakes, I had not made cupcakes in years and I knew just the recipe that I wanted to use. Everyone in our group but one, me, loves coffee, and the cupcakes were a hit. I forgot my camera to take pictures of the little delights, by the time I remembered there was not even a crumb left on the plate. They were a hit and everyone wants me to make them for our next barbecue. It feels so good when something as simple as a little cupcake can make a grey day bright and enjoyable for all. I will be happy to repeat the coffee cupcakes for our next outing.
I wanted a cupcake that everyone at the picnic would love, and they all love coffee. I immediately started looking for the perfect coffee cupcake. I found Melissa ~ The Boastful Baker had a very interesting recipe and it was from Martha Stewart’s cookbook, ‘Cupcakes.’ I had been looking at this cookbook for some time, it was a gift, and I knew someday I would need the perfect cupcake. Here it is for all those coffee lovers and even for those that do not drink, I had a small sampling when I was finished with the frosting and it was very good for something with coffee. …
The one change I made was to chop up about ¼ cup of coffee toffee candy and stirred it into the batter. The little nuggets were a special treat inside each mini cupcake.
ONE~ BOWL CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Makes 18 to 24 (50+ mini cupcakes)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons safflower oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ chopped coffee toffee candy (me addition)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed. Mix in the ¼ cup of chopped coffee toffee candy into cupcake batter.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake ~ I found the recipe:
The Boastful Baker ~ Melissa Blog
Makes about 5 cups
(For the mini One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, I made half of this recipe of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and it was more than enough frosting.)
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
- Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.
- Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
- With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low-speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.
- Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.
- Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low-speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
Coffee Variation: Mix 2 tablespoons good quality instant espresso powder (do not use instant coffee) with the vanilla extract. Stir until espresso powder is mostly dissolved and add to frosting in step 6.
Directions: I followed The Boastful Baker and Martha Stewart with my addition of chopped coffee toffee added to the cupcakes. I sprinkled each frosted cupcake with a little freshly ground nutmeg.