My mom absolutely loved these cupcakes – they were one of her Mother’s Day presents from me!
My mother (like anyone in their right mind) is a huge chocolate fan. We have to hide the chocolate covered almonds so she doesn’t eat them all in one sitting! She also loves any type of fresh fruit, and has a real penchant for coffee, too. So, when crafting the perfect Mother’s Day dessert recipe, I knew I had to incorporate all of her favorite flavors. Hence, the decadent and delicious chocolate cupcakes with fresh strawberry espresso frosting.
For the cake, I used my go-to basic chocolate cupcake recipe, and experimented by adding a tablespoon more of espresso powder than usual. They turned out perfectly for me – but if you’re a really big espresso fan, I’d recommend another tablespoon or two. One tablespoon definitely deepened the chocolate flavor in my batch, but the espresso was not prominent.
I am really, REALLY proud of this frosting. I had strawberries and espresso powder on the counter, and was planning on topping each cupcake with plain espresso frosting and then a whole strawberry on top, but I was hit with a stroke of genius, if I may say so myself! After making a base, regular vanilla buttercream, I added espresso powder to give it that sweet coffee taste. Then came the good part, I roughly diced the strawberries, pressed them all dry with a paper towel, and incorporated them into the rest of the frosting with a few spins of the paddle mixer. And, bam! A sweet, coffee buttercream with fresh strawberries throughout, that paired perfectly with my rich chocolate cupcakes. Also, my mom’s favorite color is turquoise, so I made sure to use the perfect liners!
I love that you can see the little flecks of espresso in the buttercream, and how vibrant the strawberries are in the photos – they add the perfect lightness to an otherwise heavy cake. Mmmm… I could really go for a spoonful of that frosting right now.
Anyway, happy (belated, now) Mother’s Day to my smart, beautiful, kind, loving, and supportive mother!
And I hope you liked the sweets (I think she did – they were gone in two days)!
Leave a comment below to let me know how they go!
Chocolate Cupcakes & Strawberry Espresso Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I like the brand Medaglia D’Oro)
- 2/3 cup finely diced strawberries (pat them dry to remove excess water without crushing them)
- Preheat the oven to 350*F and line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso in the large bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add in the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and beat the whole mixture on medium speed for about two minutes.
- Stir, or put your mixer on the lowest possible setting, and add in the boiling water. Your batter will not look like regular cupcake batter, but rather, brown soup! This is correct – you’re doing it right!
- Fill the cupcake cups 2/3 full with batter and bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Before frosting them, make sure they’re totally cooled.
- Using a paddle attachment in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip up the softened butter until almost completely white and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until completely incorporated. Feel free to add milk if you want a thinner consistency, but remember that the strawberries will add liquid to the recipe.
- Blend in the vanilla, salt, and espresso powder until the bits of espresso are relatively evenly distributed in the frosting.
- Using a spatula, gently incorporate the strawberries, trying not to crush them too much.
- Fill a prepared piping bag with a star tip (or whatever tip you choose) and frost each cupcake with a swirl. It may be difficult for the strawberries to it through a really small tip, so I’d use a large star tip, or something bigger. Or just slather it on bag-less!