Bonne fin d’année!
Hello friends! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and have been enjoying some time off over the past week. I myself had a great Christmas; we spent the day with friends and family, and had the most amazing dinner. As much as I love being in the kitchen, Christmas is very much my Mum’s thing: I tend to just do what I’m told and try and stay out of the way. For Christmas dinner this year, she bough the largest piece of pork I have ever seen–it was 5kg and took up almost a whole shelf in our fridge. We slow-roasted it throughout the day, and served it with stuffing, roast vegetables, and a variety of salads that our guests contributed. It was absolutely delicious, and I was happily eating up leftovers for quite a few days afterwards.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and I think that calls for a bit of a treat, don’t you? I’m not much of a New Year’s fan to be honest, I always find it remarkably underwhelming, but maybe a spot of cake will change my opinion for the better…
When people think of cupcakes, I think the image that is frequently conjured up is one of children’s birthday parties: of pretty little cakes with pink frosting and sprinkles. Those kind of cupcakes are delicious, don’t get me wrong–in fact I have very vivid memories of eating vanilla cupcakes with pink icing and sprinkles as a child–but cupcakes are not exclusively the domain of kids’ parties. These cupcakes, for instance, are decidedly more adult. Coffee seems to be a big part of adulthood. Drinking coffee is often a social activity, and for a a lot of people, an important part of their daily routine. So what better way to upgrade the beloved childhood dessert that is the cupcake into a more grown-up version of itself than to make it coffee flavoured?
I wish I enjoyed drinking coffee, but sadly, it just doesn’t seem to be my thing. Coffee-flavoured chocolates, on the other hand….I’ll take one of those any day! That is what I have tried to replicate with these cupcakes: the delicious blend of bitter coffee and sweet, rich chocolate. The cakes themselves have a good balance between chocolate and coffee, but the icing tips the balance back towards the coffee flavour. As a non-coffee drinker, I was a bit unsure about that, but my coffee-drinking friends and family assured me that the flavour was good. So I’m going to trust their judgement. If you’re not a huge coffee fan, you could ice the cakes with chocolate butter-cream, which would make the overall taste more chocolatey, but still allow the cake to retain that slightly bitter note that the coffee brings.
I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year (or bonne fin d’année, as they say in France). I will see you all in 2016 for more cooking adventures! Happy baking!
makes 12 cupcakes
3/4 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp caster sugar
3tsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp boiling water
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 160ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a glass or measuring jug, mix together the 3 teaspoons of instant coffee granules with the 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Stir until the coffee granules have dissolved, and then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and cocoa. Add egg, oil, cooled coffee mixture and milk to the dry ingredients, and stir well until the ingredients are combined and there are no lumps remaining in the mix (the batter will be quite thin).
- Pour batter evenly into muffin tins. Bake in the middle of the oven for 34 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2tsp instant coffee granules
1tsp boiling water
1.5 – 2 tbsp milk
- Combine the 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules with 1 teaspoon of boiling water, and stir until the granules have dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl, combine sifted icing sugar with cooled coffee mix, then gradually add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is attained.
- Drizzle spoonfuls of icing onto the top of each cupcake, and allow it to spread over the surface of the cake and drip down the sides a little. Use the back of the spoon to spread the icing to any sections of the cake left uncovered. Allow icing to harden and then serve.
Keeping time: 4 days in an airtight container.