I can't live without coffee, and I'm not joking at all. I need caffeine to keep me awake and pump me up for revision purposes. But I don't just drink coffee for stimulatory purposes, I also enjoy the flavour of coffee and the enticing aroma always makes me feel awake despite all the sleep deprivation IB students are subscribed to.
Recently my favourite coffee is the Caramel Macchiato from McCafe (don't judge me - McCafe is actually not bad! And its prices are more reasonable than Starbucks for a student...). The bit I look most forward to is sipping the foam layer that is drizzled with caramel, and then slowly enjoying the caramel-infused coffee.
During the week of school just before Easter holidays, I had my very last high school Chemistry lesson, and one lunchtime during that week our teacher took us out for lunch at Starbucks. I had an iced caramel macchiato and it immediately confirmed my plan of baking caramel macchiato cupcakes for my last Chem lesson, especially when I've had this teacher for 4 years already!
The coffee cupcake was amazingly tender, moist and soft with a strong coffee aroma and taste. The sprinkle of cacao nibs gave the cake a chocolatey undertone. The cupcakes were great to eat on their own fresh from the oven!
The cakes were then topped with a luscious mountain of vanilla-kahlua infused whipped cream and generously drizzled with homemade caramel sauce. The lightly-textured cream rounded off the ensemble of coffee and caramel flavours very well. All my friends agreed that the cream was the best part - almost a replica of Starbucks' whipped cream, I think we all wanted to have extra servings of the cream! These were well received by everyone...maybe because it's was the famillar scent of our best friend Coffee?!? :)
My teacher had two of these cupcakes and he said that they were amazing - I couldn't be more happier. Sometimes the feeling is just so great when you receive compliments for something you've made, especially when you put in effort, patience and love - which I think will definitely be conveyed to the person eating it!
Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes
Based on recipe from FoodMayhem
Makes around 14 cupcakes
2 1/2 (313g) cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 (180ml) cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled to warm
1/4 (60ml) cup milk
1 tbsp Kahlua
12 tbsp (170g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 rounded tsp instant espresso
Cacao nibs, for sprinkling
Whipped Cream Topping
200g (around 1 cup) whipping cream
3 tbsp (40g) sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp Kahlua (Optional. Don't put too much, or the cream will be too soft for piping)
(this makes more than needed, use remaining as an ice-cream topper or a mix-in for coffee)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
3 tbsp (43g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tbsp (60g) heavy cream
Make Coffee Cupcakes
1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F/175 C.Place paper liners in muffin tin.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Combine coffee, milk, and Kahlua in a cup and set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) or large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat eggs in one at a time.
4. Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then half of the liquid mixture. Scrape down sides, then beat in another third of flour mixture, then the rest of the liquid, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix in the instant espresso.
5. Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Sprinkle on some cacao nibs if using.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing them to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Make Caramel Sauce
1. Warm the cream up in a small microwaveable bowl in the microwave. Set aside.
2. Spread sugar evenly across the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepan and put over medium-high flame. Try not to touch the sugar but watch carefully as it melts.
3. As soon as it is browning, you can start to stir. When it looks like all of it has browned lightly, remove the pot from heat and stir in butter. Be careful because it will bubble up.
3. Bring it back to the flame and stir for a few seconds until smooth. Remove from the heat again and add the warmed heavy cream, again careful of violent bubbling. Stir rapidly until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Make Whipped Cream Topping and Assemble
(Do not make this until the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled)
1. Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla and Kahlua and whip until medium peaks form.
2. Transfer to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe on top of each cupcake.
4. Drizzle the cool caramel sauce over the cupcakes with a spoon, or for a neater pattern, transfer to a squeeze bottle and pipe over. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to one day.