Vanilla latte cupcakes

| 10 Feb 2012 | 03:58

Most days my regimen is to eat healthy meals and little or no sugar, but when I indulge it’s for my daughter Alicia’s decadent cupcakes. Her latest flavor: vanilla latte. Pure flavors, organic ingredients and elegant yet playful presentation elevate these cupcakes from simple treat to sophisticated dessert. A cup of robust coffee and a tablespoon of espresso powder (we like to keep it local so we brewed Hudson Valley roasted coffee beans) amps up the flavor. Warning! Although reminiscent of your favorite morning beverage, these cupcakes are not suitable for breakfast.

Whisking the dry ingredients gives the cake a light texture and combining vinegar and baking soda into the mixture keeps it fluffy. Spoon the batter into fluted liners, place into a preheated oven, then resist temptation to open the oven door, especially for the first ten minutes or the cupcakes may collapse.

The whipped vanilla frosting is made with non-hydrogenated, non-gmo vegetable shortening like Spectrum or Earth Balance. To make the topping, plunge coffee beans into rich, dark chocolate, chop when cool and garnish. With each mouthful you get moist cake, luxurious vanilla frosting, and a burst of bittersweet cocoa coffee crunch. And vegan baking means you can have your cake and eat the eggless batter, too.

Vanilla Latte Cupcakes Ingredients

1 cup strong coffee, cold 1 tbsp soy mlk

½ tsp apple cider vinegar 1 ¼ cup flour

2 tbls cornstarch

¾ tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt ¼ cup canola oil ¾ cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbls instant espresso powder

Frosting ¼ cup non hydrogenated vegetable shortening

¼ cup vegan margarine 1 ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy milk

For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together coffee, soymilk, and vinegar and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together coffee-soymilk-vinegar mixture with oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, stirring until almost no lumps remain. Stir in espresso powder. Do not over-mix.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For frosting: Beat together shortening and margarine until fluffy (5-7 minutes). Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth (5 minutes). Add soymilk and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy. Frosting should be firm enough to hold its shape but still fluffy. Pipe frosting onto cupcake with a piping bag and tip or spread on with a knife.

Top cupcakes with chopped dark chocolate covered coffee beans.