Welcome to the third installment of Procrastination Destination, where Wesleying provides you #content to get you through finals!
If you’re the same type of perpetually stressed as I am, then you also decide to bake/make/chef-it-up during finals season to take some productive time off from studying or staring at Netflix, pretending to study. Baking is a ~thing that I do~ while blasting some dramatic music because at least I’m doing something, even if it isn’t homework.
I have a slightly well-known recipe for Mocha Spice cupcakes that I came up with after experimenting in the kitchen a few years back. They’ve made their way to Wesleyan a few times, notably when I baked over three dozen and delivered them to students after spring break. I normally try to bake a batch while I’m home and share the ~goods~ with friends, and it’s quickly become a favorite treat.
The thing is, I don’t *really* have a recipe. I follow this Turkish thing called göz ayar?, which directly translates to eye measurement, which completely makes sense (I hope). Essentially, I know how much to throw into the measuring bowl after making these cupcakes time and time again. The point is, the recipe’s ingredients are always in a dynamic flux depending on what I have laying at home.
The “recipe” I’m going to share is meant to be broken; it’s meant to be experimented with. If you don’t like a particular ingredient, literally just take it out. Wanna add something? Go for it! This recipe is supposed to look like absolute freakin’ chaos…because it is. This is essentially the cupcake in its core, and sometimes I play around with some ~extras~, which I’ll let you know about after getting that not-so-stable cupcake foundation set.
What kind of cupcakes are these? you may ask. They’re, essentially, a mocha “spice” cupcake, the spice denoting cinnamon. I had a recipe for coffee cupcakes that I had used as a first-year in high school that I was a bit bored with, so I played around with extra ingredients until I made the current cupcake conception. As a ~result~, the parts with proper measurements are within the original recipe…so basically the base part of the cupcake.
So, yah, let’s get to cookin’!
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar (use a coarse grain if you want these to be muffin-like, aka you’re too lazy to frost them)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk, room-ish temperature
- Instant coffee (I’ve played around with adding both regular instant coffee with hazelnut flavor Nescafe to-go powders, and it works really well)
- Vanilla (either the extract or the powder, although I prefer the liquid extract)
- 1 bar of milk chocolate*
- 1 bar of dark chocolate*
- ~2 cups of flour (save yourself the pain and grief and get self-rising flour. If you can’t, here’s what you have to do to make your own. It’s just a ratio of baking powder:salt:flour, but it’s a pain in the ass).
- *Aldi’s chocolate (rly near campus) is a fave and works REALLY well with this recipe. My mom buys them in bulk when I get home to essentially force me to make some more
- Electric mixer on high (if you don’t have an electric mixer, pray for some muscles). Combine the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add eggs, and then milk. Mix until smooth.
- This is when things get fun.
- And by fun, I mean chaos.
- Essentially, I throw in the cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee into the mixing bowl, essentially, to a taste where I like it.
- If I’m going to eyeball it, around 2-3 tbsp of coffee, 1 tbsp of cocoa, some random amount of cinnamon, and a slosh of vanilla extract.
- This recipe is about ur taste, so just taste test it to see if it works to your liking.
- Slowly add in flour (with the baking powder:salt ratio if it isn’t self-rising). It’s probably a good idea to sift it in, but I am lazy.
- So here’s the thing, and maybe someone who has better professional baking experience can explain: I have to add a ridiculous amount of flour to this recipe. I genuinely do not understand how people make cupcakes with watery batters and have their cupcakes rise. If I don’t have some ungodly amount of flour in this batter, to the point where I have to force the batter off the spoon into the cupcake liners, they will not rise, and it’ll just be a huge mess. So, when I say I add a bit more than two cups of flour (which may be too much in a normal recipe) trust me when I say I have tried with less and I ended up with some really sad, droopy cupcakes.
- Essentially, add flour until the batter is super thick and need some extra intervention to fit into the liners.
- Add in the chocolate. I normally just break the bars into small pieces, but not too small. I want the chocolate to melt, but I don’t want it to disappear into the batter. Basically, break them up into big enough pieces where you can have those really satisfying cupcake opening videos where there are visible chunks of chocolate melting away :)
- Once mixed, pour batter into pam-ed cupcake liners.
- Combine some brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it on top of the cupcakes.
- Throw into an oven of around 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, depending on the mood of the cupcakes.
- If you did the flour right, they should crack a bit on the top and look like cute little mini muffins.
- Just continue baking until it gets nice and chocolate golden, if that’s a color.
- Just use a toothpick to check if it’s cooked.
- Serve! WooO!
And for the variations I’ve done, with their various success:
- I added one piece of fondue chocolate at the bottom of each cupcake liner. It was a fave for my mom because it added a bitter *kick* when you bite into the cupcake.
- I hollow the middle of the cupcake and then add in some hazelnut/plain pudding (that I’ve made using a mix, not a pudding cup) in the middle. You’re going to probably have to ice these bad boys, but this is a really great addition. It’s a ‘lil surprise in the middle!
- I’ve added crushed coffee beans, which I recommend if you like the chocolate-covered espresso beans from WesShop
- I’ve added almond extract, which is honestly a nice touch!
- Feel free to add nuts! I’ve worked with hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds, and they’ve worked pretty well!
- Raisins are also a possibility, although the ~kids~ aren’t a fan of raisins in their cupcakes.
- I’ve also added blessed wafers, meaning that I was given some wafers during a long masjid service, didn’t have any chocolate bars at home, and decided to be ~experimental~. It was a holy cake and wasn’t completely terrible.
So have fun! Experiment a bit! Eat some caffeinated cupcakes! You can survive this!