It snowed this morning!! We have had almost no snow this year, and actually hit 80 degrees last week, and I was missing winter. But I woke up this morning to big wet snowflakes! That has absolutely nothing to do with these cupcakes, but I was so excited I just had to share. 🙂
Anyway, on to the cupcakes! Do you guys do anything special for St. Patrick’s Day? Do you attend a parade, or bake anything special? I’ve never really celebrated it much, but a few weeks ago I was in Michaels, mostly just browsing, but with my Cherry Chocolate Chip Rolls in mind. I was supposed to be looking for something Valentine’s Day related while I was walking down the baking aisle, and then I spotted these St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles.
I decided I had to have them, but then I had to figure out what to do with them. Cupcakes sounded like a good idea, but what kind? So I started searching Pinterest for St. Patrick’s Day ideas. It seems like Irish cream is pretty popular right now. And since Irish cream has a lot of the same flavors as mocha, I decided to incorporate in into a favorite mocha cake of mine. And make them cupcakes, because cupcakes are just more fun.
I thought it might be easier (and cheaper!) to use an Irish cream coffee creamer. Since I don’t drink coffee, I had never tried the creamer before. Before I started trying to add it to my cake recipe, I tried it straight. Oh my goodness, you guys, it is SWEET. So I knew immediately I would have to reduce the sugar in the recipe. Thankfully, it turned out perfectly on my first attempt, but I sure am glad I tried the creamer first!
To top the cupcakes, I figure I might as well go all the way and make an Irish Cream buttercream. It was a good idea. The cupcakes aren’t overly sweet, so a nice big swirl of buttercream compliments them nicely. And it gives the sprinkles a pretty place to land. 🙂
If you aren’t a fan of Irish cream, or coffee in general, you can make some adjustments to this recipe pretty easily. Try any flavor of creamer that sounds good to you. And if you are using a non-mocha flavoring you can leave the instant coffee out of both the cake and frosting. Amaretto would be fantastic (I LOVE chocolate and almond together!). You can amp up the flavor by adding a little bit of almond extract. Or what about the salted caramel mocha? I might add some salted caramel into the buttercream for that one. A peppermint or peppermint mocha version would be fantastic at Christmas! For now, I’m going to stick with the Irish cream, but I definitely have other ideas brewing! 😉
Mocha Irish Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from the Mocha Coffee Cake at Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,50400000112136,00.html
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside.
Dissolve instant coffee granules in the coffee creamer and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until very well combined, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with first the sour cream and then the creamer. Mix just until combined after each addition.
Divide batter evenly between the cupcake tins, filling each about 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Combine creamer and instant coffee. Set aside.
Beat butter, shortening, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Add half of the creamer mixture and mix again.
Add the remaining powdered sugar, followed by the remaining creamer mixture. Beat until combined.
Turn mixture on high and beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time or creamer 1 tablespoon at a time to adjust consistency if necessary.
Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
Buttercream makes enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes. If you prefer a smaller layer of frosting, cut recipe in half.
Substitute any flavor creamer for the Irish cream, eliminating the instant coffee granules if preferred. Enhance with extracts if desired. Almond in Amaretto, peppermint in peppermint mocha, etc.