Irish Coffee Cupcakes
Quicker and easier than the Irish coffee cake -- and individually yummy

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

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Ingredients

For the cupcakes
1.3 cup / 240g / 8 ounces Butter
1.5 cup / 240g / 8 ounces Granulated sugar
1.5 / 240g / 8 ounces Self-raising flour
1.25 teaspoons Baking powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
6 teaspoons Instant coffee crystals
2 tablespoons Cocoa
4 tablespoons Hot water
4 Large eggs
For the coffee and whiskey syrup
300 ml / 0.5 UK pint Strong coffee
1.5 cup / 240g / 8 ounces Granulated sugar
6 tablespoons Irish whiskey
For the buttercream whiskey frosting
4 cups / 525g Confectioners' / icing sugar At room temperature
2 cups / 350g Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Irish whiskey

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Cuisine:

    Easier to make than the full size cake. For younger cupcake fans, just skip the whiskey

    • Medium

    Ingredients

    • For the cupcakes

    • For the coffee and whiskey syrup

    • For the buttercream whiskey frosting

    Directions

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    This recipe is a lot like the one for our Irish Coffee Cake, in which layers of a coffee/chocolate sponge cake are soaked with a coffee and whiskey syrup, then topped with a cream and whiskey frosting. As a cupcake recipe it’s quicker and easier to make, and (potentially at least) a lot more portable. (We use a more buttercream-like frosting for this, as it keeps better on cupcakes than the cream-based one on the cake does.)

    This recipe makes about 18 cupcakes if you don’t overfill the liners. The frosting part of it is designed to provide you with enough of the whiskey-buttercream icing to frost each one pretty lavishly — so that those of you who think of cupcakes primarily as a delivery system for frosting won’t be disappointed.

    Please note that these cupcakes are alcoholic, and designed to keep the alcohol in rather than allowing it to be lost during the baking process and later steps. There is no alcohol in the cupcake recipe proper, however — so if you prefer a nonalcoholic version of this recipe, simply bake the cupcakes as described and omit the whiskey from the coffee syrup and the buttercream frosting.

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    Steps

    1
    Done

    Getting ready to make the cupcakes

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 175 degrees C, with the rack you'll be baking on at a roughly central position.

    Prepare two 12-muffin muffin pans / cupcake pans, lining 18 cups total with cupcake liners. (If you need to split the bake because you have only one pan, it's no problem. As soon as the first batch of cupcakes is out of the pan, you can cool it down under cold water and get started on the next batch.)

    2
    Done

    Combine the dry ingredients

    Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Mix gently together (trying to keep as much of the sifted-in air in the mixture as possible) and set aside.

    3
    Done

    The wet ingredients

    Beat the warmed butter at high speed until creamy and light, scraping the mixing bowl as necessary to help the process along. Add the sugar and continue creaming it with the butter until you can no longer feel sugar grains in the mixture when pinching it between finger and thumb. Then begin beating in the eggs one at a time; beat the mixture well after each added egg. Add the vanilla to this mixture while beating at medium-high speed until light and fairly fluffy.

    4
    Done

    Mixing them together

    Now slow the mixer to its lowest speed -- just a stirring speed, no more -- and add about a third of the dry ingredients by spoonfuls. When combined with the batter, mix the hot water with the coffee powder and add to the batter. Mix well, and gradually add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until smoothly combined.

    5
    Done

    Filling the liners and baking

    With the batter, fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Don't bother leveling the tops: the batter will even itself out during the baking process. (Don't be tempted to overfill them, as this batter bakes up fairly delicate and the excess will overflow the liners and leave you with flat tops.)

    When the oven is ready, bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, until the tops are puffed up and spring back when pressed lightly. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool with the cupcakes in place for 5-10 minutes. Then remove them to a rack and allow to cool completely before proceeding with the next step.

    A note here: you can stop the preparation at this point, if you like, and pick it up again the next day. Leaving the cupcakes in a closed tin or similar container overnight seems to intensify the flavor and make them moister.

    6
    Done

    Making the coffee and whiskey syrup

    To make the coffee and whiskey syrup: Heat the strong coffee and sugar together gently until the sugar has dissolved: then boil rapidly for 2 minutes until noticeably thickened. Make sure you do this in a pan that can hold at least four or five times the amount of syrup, because it will try to boil over, and it'll leave you with an incredible mess if it gets all over the cooktop. Once the boiling period is complete, remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for ten minutes or so, stirring occasionally so that any floating bits of coffee residue get stirred back into the syrup. When cooled to about lukewarm, stir in the whiskey. Allow to cool completely.

    7
    Done

    Assembling the cupcakes: cutting off the tops

    Once the syrup is ready, assemble your cupcakes and carefully cut part of the rounded top off of each one. The cut-off part doesn't have to be the whole breadth of the cupcake: it can be a piece anywhere between the size of a US quarter and a US 50-cent piece (or a UK 50p piece, or a 2 Euro coin). Your purpose here is to create a small flat space onto which to pour the coffee syrup. Once this is done, find someone to eat the cut-off tops.

    8
    Done

    Making the crosscuts

    Now use a long sharp knife (ideally one with a blunt tip) to pierce each cupcake twice through the cut-off area, from the top to almost the bottom of the cupcake, in a cross shape. This is for the coffee-and-whiskey syrup to sink into, so try hard when making these cuts not to go all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake.

    9
    Done

    Dosing the cupcakes with syrup

    Once the cuts are made, use a spoon to gently pour about three teaspoons / 1 tablespoon of the coffee syrup into each cupcake... a bit more, if you like. (Or pour gently from a small measuring jug if you prefer.) Pause for a few seconds between each teaspoonful-dose to allow the syrup to sink in.

    When all the cupcakes have had their dose of coffee-and-whiskey syrup, set them aside while you prepare the buttercream frosting. (Note: This is another point where you can halt the preparation for some hours if you like. Again, keep the cupcakes in a tightly closed tin or other similar container until you're ready to resume the assembly process.)

    10
    Done

    Making and piping on the buttercream frosting

    To make the whiskey-buttercream frosting: Beat the butter until light. Add the icing sugar by half-cupfuls, beating well on medium-high speed between each addition. Finally add the vanilla and last of all the whiskey, by tablespoonfuls, and then beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

    Now frost the cupcakes in whatever manner takes your fancy. (General advice for those using a piping bag: Use the largest "star" tip you have available. Otherwise, consult one of the web's many pages on the art of cupcake frosting.)

    Enjoy!

    IrishDessertLady

    I write for a living. But food is one of my favorite hobbies... learning about it, cooking it, eating it!

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