I don't know what it was...maybe the baby that I'm brewing...but after months of not wanting much to do with anything sweet or chocolaty, or coffee like I finally got the craving for a cupcake...and the hubby quickly agreed. I gathered the things in my pantry, quickly realizing I wouldn't be able to make anything that included vanilla extract. I'm fresh out, and there's no way I'm going to the grocery store in this crazy rainy weather we are having. I doctored up a German Chocolate Cake mix with some extra cocoa powder and some coffee flavors, and then I began mixing the frosting. Truthfully, I thought this was going to be a frosting disaster...all good frosting contains vanilla extract right? But to my surprise my improvisations resulted in this rich decadent goodness. So much goodness that I couldn't bear to part with the leftovers. You could decorate these cupcakes with pretty chocolate curls or caramel drizzle...but I kind liked out simple they were to make...and to frost. No piping bag, just the back of a tablespoon and a big bowl of frosting.
Black and Tan Cupcakes
1 box of German chocolate or other chocolate cake mix
1/2 c. vegetable oil (or the amount called for in the cake mix)
2 tbsp espresso liquor
1/3 c. chilled coffee or espresso
*Remaining amount of water called for on your cake mix.
6 oz cream cheese softened
1 stick of butter
2 tbsp espresso liquor
2 tbsp of caramel topping
1 pinch of sea salt
2-3 c. of confectioner's sugar
For the Cake:
Dump the box of cake mix in your mixer bowl along with the eggs and oil. Get out your measuring cup and measure out 2 tbsp. of espresso liquor and 1/3 c. of coffee. Fill that same cup with enough water to measure out what your box of cake mix calls for. I hope that makes sense...basically your substituting some of the water for coffee and espresso liquor...not adding to that amount. Also add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Turn on your mixer and beat until smooth. Fill cupcake tins (or cake pans) with batter about 2/3 c. full and bake according to box directions.
For the Frosting:
Whip butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer until it is smooth. Add espresso liquor, caramel, and salt. Beat until incorporated. On slow speed add confectioner's sugar, starting with 2 c. and adding additional sugar if it appears to be too thin. Frosting will have a thick creamy texture, it won't hold shape like a butter cream but should be able to be swirled with the back of a spoon on top of the cupcakes and hold some form.