These easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting really are pure mum fuel. They combine two key fuels – coffee and chocolate – into one delicious, easy-to-make cupcake that is perfect for a much needed timeout with coffee or a sneaky refuel while hiding in the pantry. We’ve all been there: this is the cupcake you need. We’ll also tell you how to freeze them, so you can have one whenever you need!
Taste: Much-needed 100% mom fuel – coffee and chocolate
Ease: Even with distractions and “helpers”
Pros: They’re not for the kids
Cons: Trying to decide whether it is worth freezing any really
Again: We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Of course! Regularly!
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Why you need these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting
Most mums are fueled by coffee and chocolate, even on a good day. During a pandemic, this is even more true.
Even Tea with Mum! You might think from the name that I only drink tea. On the contrary, I generally drink more coffee. Tea is something I drink more “for special”. I definitely prescribe to the “Mum fueled by coffee, chocolate and sticky kisses”.
So these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting are 100% mom fuel – light and moist with delicious chocolate and coffee to help fuel you on a bad day. Or a good day.
And with the coffee in both the cupcakes and the frosting, it is not a cupcake that will be suitable for most children. So this one is all for the mums out there (and anyone they wish to share them with).
How to serve these cupcakes
These easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting are best served with a beverage, but are also wonderful when eaten in a quiet moment when no one is looking or while hiding in the pantry.
For the mum on the go, we suggest one of our cupcakes with coffee, even if the coffee is cold because it is one of those days (personally, I find stale coffee worse!).
Or you could purposefully go the cold route and try them with a vodka espresso. Absolute Vodka provides the following recipe:
A cocktail invented by bartender Dick Bradsell for a super model in 1983 – to have even on days when you are definitely feeling furthest from a super model.
- Ice Cubes
- 1⅓ parts vodka
- ⅔ part Kahlúa
- ⅔ part espresso
- 1 whole coffee bean for garnish (optional)
Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a coffee bean.
If you are doing a dry January, just have coffee or hot chocolate, or wait until February to try these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting.
Tips to make these cupcakes easier to make than pie
So we’ve said they’re easy, so are they easy enough to make when you’ve had back-to-back Zoom calls all day, you have a tired toddler clinging to your leg and your other child roaring like a dinosaur?
Not quite, but close. Fee the toddler, end the calls and work out what your little dinosaur needs. Then make yourself these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting as a treat for surviving another horrendous day.
Like the vanilla cupcakes of our fairy cakes, this is pretty much a throw-everything-in-a-bowl recipe, with a little mixing in between. There are only 2 elements to make – easy mocha cupcakes and creamy mocha frosting, with no extra sauces or toppings – unless you have some chocolate covered coffee beans to throw on top.
What do I need to watch?
Two ingredients are key to the taste of these cupcakes:
- The chocolate: It must be baking cocoa and not drinking cocoa (hot chocolate). Dutch-processed cocoa is best (though all of the cocoa in Germany is Dutch-processed).
- The coffee: Use instant espresso powder. Normal instant coffee powder is not strong enough to still taste the coffee over the chocolate. It also needs to be instant and not ground coffee for your espresso machine as that will require too much liquid for the recipe.
Could you use a packet mix?
Yes. Add the milk and espresso coffee to a rich chocolate cake mix. If the mix calls for milk, add a little less so that the coffee/milk and the rest of the milk make up the same amount of liquid as the recipe requires.
For the frosting, add a tablespoon or two of water or milk to espresso powder to make a paste and then mix it through your favourite chocolate readymade frosting.
To be honest: it will take almost no extra time to make these cupcakes from scratch than it will to add coffee to a store-bought chocolate cake and frosting.
What if you can’t eat all of them at once?
These cupcakes are pure momma fuel. However, we probably don’t want too many at once or we might feel guilty. For me it depends on the day really…
The good thing is that both the cupcakes and the mocha frosting will keep too. The mocha cupcakes are delicious without frosting, and you can also just spread the frosting on a cupcake like butter if you need a quick fix.
You can also freeze them – with or without the frosting – and take one out, as needed (i.e. once a day).
How to keep cupcakes
The other great thing about these cupcakes is that they keep well. Both the frosting and the cupcakes will normally be safe at room temperature for 2 – 3 days (perhaps not in the middle of an Australian Summer…).
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap, unfrosted. If you can, cool them on a wire rack to ensure good air circulation. If they are not completely cooled, they will sweat and go soggy and may even go mouldy.
How to freeze cupcakes
Double wrap your cupcakes in plastic, making sure there are no gaps, and you can freeze them for up to two months. Alternatively, place them in a freezer proof bag or container. Use wax paper (parchment paper) to separate layers of cupcakes. Allow them to completely defrost (still wrapped in plastic/in the container) before piping on any frosting.
How to keep frosting
Frosting is better refrigerated in an airtight container. It should keep quite well for up to 5 days. You may need to rewhip the frosting before using it to get the right consistency again. If mixing alone is not giving it the right consistency, try mixing in a splash of milk.
How to freeze frosting
You can also freeze frosting for up to 3 months. Spoon it into a ziplock freezer bag, squeeze out all the extra air and seal. Thaw it out entirely before using, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Let it soften to room temperature for an hour before using.
I have not tried it, but would be wary about freezing Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream.
How to freeze frosted cupcakes
Did you know that you can also freeze frosted cupcakes? The trick is to freeze them first, uncovered, being careful that none of them touch. Once they are frozen, take them out of the freezer and place them in a container or wrap them well (I have heard good things about Glad Press’n’Seal wrap, but we don’t have it in Germany). Freezing them first will prevent even from becoming squashed or mushed.
When you want to use them, take them out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap (or anything else that is touching the frosting). This will stop the frosting from getting stuck on the wrap.
Can you taste that they have been in the freezer?
In general, no. You cannot taste the difference. Make sure that you have wrapped them well or that the container seals well to avoid ice build up. Try not to keep the cupcakes in the freezer for more than a couple of months.
These cupcakes are quite strong and the taste is quite robust. However, you might find that a more subtle or dainty cupcakes (I’m thinking orange or lavender, for example), might not fair quite so well in the freezer. I would also generally avoid freezing cupcakes with filling.
Naturally, these tips on keeping and freezing cupcakes apply to most cupcakes, not just these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting. Freezing can be a great way to avoid waste or to prepare for a big event (so that everything is not left to the big day).
100% Mom fuel: Easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting
- Muffin form
For the cupcakes
- 150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 200 mL sour cream
- 1 ½ cup plain flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 tbsp. instant espresso coffee powder
- 4 tbsp. warm milk
For the mocha frosting
- 150 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 cups icing sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp. instant espresso coffee powder
- 4 tbsp. warm milk
- 18 chocolate covered coffee beans (for decoration)
To make the cupcakes
- Warm the milk and dissolve the instant espresso coffee in the milk. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180°c. Line a muffin form with patty pans and set aside.
- Place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat one low, then high until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined and light and fluffy again. Scrape down the sides make sure the butter and sugar are well combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat until combined. Add the sour cream and beat again.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda together straight into the mixing bowl. Mix on low and then medium-high, pausing to scrape down the bowl and ensure that the mixture is well combined.
- Pour the coffee into the mixing bowl and mix on low (to prevent splashes) until well combined.
- Fill the patty pans until about ¾ full and then bake for 18-21 minutes until a skewer poked into the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the mocha frosting
- Warm the milk and add the coffee, stiring until well combined. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Beat butter on low then high until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of icing sugar and beat until combined.
- Add the cocoa powder, salt and vanilla essence and beat to combine. When the coffee has cooled, add it to the mix and mix well, then add the icing sugar, bit by bit, until until reaching a good consistency.
- Frost the cupcakesas you wish and top with a chocolate covered coffee bean – or three – and enjoy!
Are your batteries running low? Do you need some Mom fuel?
We all have those days when we need some Mom fuel. When we do, these cupcakes are perfect. Delicious, light, moist and very easy to make – a throw-all-the-ingredients-in-a-bowl recipe. And to make sure that you always have one when you need it, there are options for freezing these easy mocha cupcakes with mocha frosting.