vanilla cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting

I hate falling sick. It makes me moody and depressed. Especially when my bones are aching. It’s so hard to fall asleep when your bones are aching. I felt like I was falling sick since last Saturday, but I was stubborn and didn’t take any preventive measures. As punishment, it became worse on Christmas Eve. And I had already made plans to go over to my favourite cousins’ place to feast, hangout and likely sleepover.

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prepping your equipment and ingredients is essential

While the sleepover part didn’t materialise, I did manage to go have fun at her place. And also managed to bake some simple cupcakes. I wanted to bake something for her and her family, and after browsing through my numerous bookmarked recipes, I decided on mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream frosting from the browneyedbaker.com., primarily because the frosting sounded as awesome as it looked on the website. My cousin however isn’t a fan of chocolate, so I decided to make plain vanilla cupcakes instead. Since I wasn’t feeling my best, baking these cupcakes, while easy, took longer than usual. And the frosting was terribly ugly. But it was great to know that I could still carry on with baking despite my cold (and aching bones). Now that I think about it though, it probably wasn’t hygienic to bake or do any kind of food preparation while I was unwell … but nobody seemed affected after consuming the cupcakes so I guess I took sufficient precautions!

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The frosting was awesome as promised, though a tad too sweet. The cupcakes however were not as soft and fluffy as I would have liked them to be. I should have suspected that there would be a problem with texture when I saw that the recipe didn’t include any liquid component apart from eggs, such as milk or buttermilk. I will have to rely on a classic vanilla cupcake recipe next time. The espresso buttercream frosting had the perfect coffee flavour and scent, but even being a sweets lover, I found it too sweet. I know that the powdered/icing/confectioner’s sugar helps the frosting reach the consistency necessary for frosting cakes, but is there a way we could add something to achieve the same consistency but without the sweetness? Or perhaps the vanilla cupcakes were not suitable substitutes for the mocha cupcakes in the original recipe? I have made the browneyedbaker’s mocha brownies with espresso buttercream frosting before, and those were a hit (with a group of teenage to young adult girls), so perhaps the base should have something less sweet, like chocolate/mocha to play off the sweetness of the frosting.

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My lovely cousin had also prepared two other desserts for us – no-bake cheesecake and English trifle. Both were creamy and delightful. I was too stuffed for dinner, but her mum’s cooking is too good to resist. So despite being unwell and all, I stuffed myself, because YOLO you know?

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Oh, in addition to the amazing foodstuffs, I also got a free henna design done by my talented cousin. She wanted to draw for somebody, everyone else were playing cards, and only I was kind enough to sacrifice my hand for a few minutes. Lol. I dislike henna because I don’t like the smell, but this was the inky type so there wasn’t any smell, and anyway I had a blocked nose so it didn’t really matter. I think I chose a pretty design! 😀

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! May you have a wonderful, blessed time with your loved ones 🙂

Vanilla cupcakes

Source: Good Housekeeping – Cupcakes (Flip-it Book), pg. 22

Ingredients

125 g unsalted butter, softened

125 g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

125 g self-raising flour

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until cream, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract, and beat till light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and beat till combined. Do not overbeat.

3. Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, when the tops have risen and are springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Source: browneyedbaker.com

227 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder

1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

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