Sunday, 10 June 2012

Espresso & Cappuccino Cupcakes - We Should Cocoa 22

With the combined incentives of a visit from a coffee loving friend and this month's We Should Cocoa ingredient being coffee, it was time to revive a couple of bakes I used to make regularly when hosting a party: Nigella's Espresso and Cappuccino Cupcakes from How to be a Domestic Goddess. I haven't made these since I started this blog. I'm not sure why, ahh, is it because I don't like coffee? If truth be told, coffee is not a flavour I'm particularly fond of. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee I find most tempting, but unfortunately, not the taste. CT on the other hand, whilst not particularly fond of the drink, likes the flavour in bakes & chocolates - guess who always gets passed the coffee chocolates? Lucy blogging at The KitchenMaid is hosting this month's We Should Cocoa and she has chosen coffee - I could hardly demur!

Although I made a few changes to Nigella's recipe, I can't for the life of me remember what I did; it was a few days ago and I foolishly didn't write it down after baking. I remember using half spelt flour and adding yogurt to the cake mix to lighten them a bit and some maca powder for its health benefits. So I am, sadly, unable to tell you exactly how I made them, but I do remember used lots of dark chocolate as well as white chocolate and I only made six of each.

Anyway, reports were good and despite my lack of enthusiasm for coffee, I did try them both. The espresso cakes were dark and bitter and gave a real jolt from the combination of dark chocolate and strong coffee. The rich espresso ganache topping and chocolate covered coffee bean on top added to the indelible stamp of a good espresso - so I'm told. The cappuccino ones, I found more palatable. They tasted of coffee for sure, but not as strongly and the creamy mascarpone and white chocolate top helped calm things down a bit. The cream and dark coffee colours looked quite spectacular together, although, due to the bad weather, my photographs don't capture this very well.

The cakes were enjoyed after a session with the bees. Yes, that's right, bees. Three years after having a top bar hive built for my mother, we have finally sourced some bees. They arrived less than two weeks ago and this was the first time the lid was being taken off to check that all was OK - a momentous occasion. We were somewhat concerned as a) the weather has been atrocious and b) there was the possibility of the comb being built the wrong way. When I say session, I mean CT and my mother; both I and our friend kept a wary distance. As it happened, all seemed absolutely fine. A comb had been built and in the right place too (we think)!


Not having taken part in the Forever Nigella challenge, the brainchild of Sarah of Maison Cupcake, for a while, I thought it was about time I did. So, I was really pleased to find out that this month's theme, guest hosted by Homemade by Fleur is Afternoon Tea. Well, what a relief for those tea sceptics to find some very welcome coffee! So please find my espresso and cappuccino cupcakes sitting demurely at the Afternoon Tea table - but be warned, they are anything but demure!

65 comments:

  1. Oh lovely bees...I wonder if you'll be making honey cake soon. I'm glad they are settling in and making the comb correctly...

    The chocolate espresso cakes look delicious...I love a bit of coffee in chocolate cake some how both coffee and a little cinnamon bring out the chocolate flavour even more.

    Have a fruitful week,
    DEb

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    1. Thanks Deb, it's very exciting about the bees. It may be some time before we take any honey as weather is not good and they will need supplies to get them through the winter, but we'll see how they go.

      You're right a little coffee works well with chocolate cake, but this was a lot of coffee :( Now cinnamon is a different story - I can never have too much of that :)

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  2. The cupcakes look gorgeous! I love the contrast between them. I think I've said before that I don't like drinking coffee but I love it in desserts and bakes. And the bees.... how exciting!!! That last picture is amazing. I'm sure we will be seeing some honey creations soon enough :)

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    1. Thanks Ros, these may well be for you then. I do hope we will be able to take some honey this year, but it depends on weather. It's all very exciting though.

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  3. These look divine! The bees - how cool!

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  4. I love the way the colours of the frostings contrast so well. I love coffee - both to drink and in cakes, so I'd try one of each!

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    1. In that case Suelle, I'll gladly let you have one of each :)

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  5. I’m never too sure about coffee and chocolate myself but those do look beautiful...and those bees-you lucky things-just thinking now of all those yummy things you might be making in the future with that honey!!

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    1. The chocolate / coffee camp is more divided than I'd thought. I was happier to look at them than eat them to be honest. Now the bees, I'm also happy to look at, they really are quite fascinating and yes at some point in the future, hopefully they will give us some honey.

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  6. Well done you! I feel some measure of guilt for pushing you out of your chocolate comfort zone, but I knew you'd rise to the challenge! Now, you have to enlighten me, what on earth is maca powder? Little grains of Sir Paul?

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    1. No please don't feel guilty - you haven't seen what I have in store for next month yet! Maca is a Peruvian radish type root which has all sorts of health giving properties, especially good for women, so I understand.

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  7. well... I knew you'd have to have a go at least, this being your very own challenge and all... and they look SPECTACULAR!!!! I love them... but then I do love coffee in all its forms!... my WSC is coming tomorrow and I hope you'll be suitably impressed! xx

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    1. You can stop laughing up your sleeve - I've got a real horror for next month's WSC! But thank you and Dom I am always impressed by your creations.

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  8. They look fabulous - I guess I'll just have to make my own to have a taste!

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    1. Sorry Jennifer, I think you might :(

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  9. I know I would love these wonderfully coffeeish cupcakes but as for the bees.....no way! I have a terrible phobia that I am trying to conquer mainly because I love gardening. But it is an uphill struggle AND we get mammoth wasps nesting in our attic every year. The last wasp man said he had tried everything to no avail. Bees are better than wasps by a mile and I know it but still freeze when near them!

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    1. Well you are not the only one Laura. I was very surprised to see our friend dash for cover the moment CT went near the bee hive and she stayed firmly indoors whilst the inspection was going on AND she is a gardener.

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  10. This is a very original recipe. I'd love to take a bite of these. As a coffee-dependent Italian they look like heaven to me! A great post for we should cocoa!
    My granddad used to keep bees and I grew up on his honey. It is the food of the gods!

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    1. Oh lucky you having bees in the family - this is a first for my mother and I. CT used to keep them though, in a former life. Yes, it seems to be only us Brits that would rather drink tea than coffee.

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  11. I hate coffee sweets but I love coffee cake - what's that about??? these look amazingly rich and delicious, they get a big thumbs up from me!

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    1. Well I guess someone has to be different! Glad you like the cakes - you can have my ration ;-)

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  12. How exciting about the bee comb! As for the cupcakes, they look amazing. I love coffee!

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    1. Thanks Ellen. It is very exciting but we've been having such awful weather ever since, it's rather worrying. Glad you like the cupcakes too :)

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  13. I love the flavour combo of chocolate with coffee. Though I rarely bake with coffee these days as my kiddos are the ones enjoying the treats and I dont want to overload their already hyper minds with caffeine infusions :D. Bookmarking this one for future.
    Have a great day!
    Anuja

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    1. Thanks Anuja. Indeed, giving coffee to kids is probably not the best idea.

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  14. what nice and delicious cupcakes, look adorable!

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    1. Thanks Gloria - best if you're a coffee lover ;-)

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  15. I love the combination of chocolate and coffee and these look like no exception. Love the two different toppings!

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    1. Thanks - the white and dark are a fun contrast and the toppings are very different, but the cakes are different too.

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  16. I regret to say I share your aversion to coffee - though I think I once made a rich cappucino cake for a friend - things you do - and I have been known to eat chocolate covered coffee beans (chocolate does make coffee better but eventually I will remember why I don't drink coffee when it disagrees with me) I have always admired these cupcakes of nigella and yours look just as lovely

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    1. Yes, the generosity of us bakers huh? We're just too good ;-) Strangley, I went through a phase of eating chocolate covered coffee beans - it didn't last long though.

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  17. I don't drink coffee, but do enjoy baked goods prepared with coffee. These cupcakes look wonderful.

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    1. Thanks you Angie, isn't it strange how people can like the coffee flavour in some things and not in others?

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  18. They look totally delicious!

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  19. Bees! How exciting, I hope they thrive and provide you plenty of honey. I bought some Shropshire pollen the other week, collected as the bee enters the hive, and it has a lovely floral taste and is lovely sprinkled onto porridge.

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    1. Oh poor bees Kath, it's done nothing but be horrible weather wise since the poor things arrived. I rather think they wish they could go back to Dorset! Shropshire pollen sounds rather exotic. I do buy pollen in a jar, but have to confess, I'm not really sure where it comes from. Not sure if we'd want to collect it or not - it's what they need to raise their young. I guess we'll just have to see how they get on.

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  20. These look simply gorgeous! I love the two different toppings you have used, they look very pretty. Only problem is I think I would have to try both! Thank you for entering Forever Nigella.

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    1. Well yes of course Fleur, it goes without saying you'd have to have one of each :)

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  21. They look really scrummy!I have a severe chocolate covered coffee bean addiction so the espresso ones look especially tempting! Good luck with the bees too, looking forward to some good honey recipes!

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    1. Thanks Hannah. Chocolate covered coffee beans are surely for the serious coffee addicts, no? Well perhaps not, even I have been know to partake and enjoy.

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  22. Wow the bees look amazing! And your cupcakes look fabulous - I really like the sound of the cappuccino ones -yum!

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    1. Clare, thank you. If you don't like strong coffee, the cappuccino cupcakes are the ones for you :)

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  23. It's one of our ambitions to have bees in a top bar hive. We're just making the forest garden area for them. Hopefully next year for the bees. ANd I've nominated you for a little Award here too http://www.carllegge.com/2012/06/versatile-blogger-award/

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    1. Oh glad to hear you're going to keep bees Carl. Hope you have a better year for them than this one! Thanks for the award, that's very kind :)

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  24. Bees! That's very exciting, Choc! Cupcakes look grand, and oh so very dark... :)

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    1. It is very exciting Celia. Unfortunately the weather here has been awful, so they are having a very rough start.

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  25. YUM! My kind of cupcakes full with COFFEE !So tempting & would love a dozen just for myself now, with my cappuccino!

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    1. He he Kit, you're out of luck I'm afraid, I only made six!

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  26. Congratulations on the bees! And I'm not a big fan of drinking coffee either, but the cappuccino ones look fantastic! I do love the flavor of coffee on occasion.

    http://agirlinherkitchen.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. It's all very exciting about the bees, but unfortuntely they've not got off to a good start with the dreadful summer we've been experiencing.

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  27. Finally getting around to these, they look great! I have always loved this pair of recipes in How to be a Domestic Goddess, it seems long ago that I first came across them, ages before cupcakes were popular! Thanks for taking part in Forever Nigella x

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    1. It's so try Sarah. I was making them too, not having the least idea they were going to become really trendy.

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  28. It's a good use of coffee that's been left in the pot. Coffee and chocolate is a perfect combination.

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  29. These look lovely - will need to show my husband! He does alot of the baking in our house!

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  30. I bet they'll give a bit of a kick in the morning!

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  31. Being a coffee addict (8 mugs a day) - these sound delightful!

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