Mochaccino Cupcakes

I adore the combination of coffee and chocolate – if it’s nicely balanced, the coffee brings the most amazing richness to the mix. But in this case, I thought I’d add a little extra something to sweeten it up, especially for those who aren’t big coffee fans, which is why I put the white chocolate buttons on top. A mochaccino is usually a mocha (hot chocolate and coffee) with cream on top, so I think these are the perfect cupcake version.

1 egg
90g sugar
75g margarine
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 shot of espresso
A splash of milk
To make the buttercream:
Cocoa powder
Icing sugar
White chocolate buttons, to decorate

Makes 10.

First of all, you might be confused that there are no quantities given for the buttercream, but I’m afraid my method is more to add more gradually and keep tasting until it’s perfect (it’s a tough job, but…).

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (180˚C fan). To make the sponge, cream the egg, sugar and margarine together, then add the dry ingredients. At this point, the batter will look pretty dry. Now is the time to add a splash of milk and the coffee – I have a little Presso coffee machine which makes a great espresso, but instant coffee will be fine if that’s all you’ve got. Just be sure to make it nice and strong as you only want to use a little bit (otherwise the batter will get really sloppy). If you’re using instant, add the normal amount of coffee granules but just a splash of water, and mix well. Add to the cake mixture and stir well. The finished product should be a nice dark brown, so you might need to add a little more cocoa. Have a taste and make sure the whole thing is sufficiently chocolatey.

Pop some paper cases into a bun-tin – you might think the mixture could go further, but it’s best to stick to 10 otherwise the buns won’t have enough mixture to rise to their full size. Divide the batter evenly between the cases and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the buns are fully risen and lightly springy to the touch. Remove from the tin and put on one side to cool.

Once the buns are completely cold, you can start on the icing – don’t be tempted to rush it, or it’ll melt and you’ll end up with a mess. As I said, making the buttercream is a bit of an inexact science. Start out by putting a couple of big spoonfuls of margarine in a bowl. Add a generous sprinkling of icing sugar and a tablespoon of cocoa powder, and mix together vigorously. Have a taste, and add whatever’s lacking. Keep going until it’s just right.

Finally, spoon the buttercream onto the top of each bun and smooth it out, then top with the white chocolate buttons. Serve with a fresh coffee, or, if you’re not a fan, a nice cup of hot chocolate.