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Coffee & Cream Cupcakes

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I’m terrible about using recipes from cookbooks.  I own quite a few but hardly ever go to them when I need a recipe, instead I go to blogs and Pinterest and Google searches.  But I vowed I would make at least one recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s Food From My Frontier cookbook.  It’s the only cookbook I own that I paid more than $15 for (I get them used or as gifts) and even though it’s cool to have as a memento since she signed it, it still felt like wasting money if I never used it.

Being a coffee and cake lover, the first thing that called to me was her Coffee Cream Cake.  Two layers of coffee-flavored cake with a cream filling and a coffee frosting.  Yum.  I decided to turn it into cupcakes, putting the cream filling in the center of each.  Her recipe has a drippy frosting that is more like a glaze that thickens as it cools, but I wanted a fluffy buttercream frosting on the cupcakes so I made up my own coffee buttercream recipe for these.

The cupcakes are great, mostly because of the cream filling and frosting.  I could tell from how thin the cake batter was that it would make sturdy cupcakes, not the light and fluffy ones that a thicker batter will make.  While the cake part isn’t my favorite (I’m pretty picky when it comes to cake), it does work well overall.  I always state my honest opinion on recipes so that you’re fully informed, but I want to assure you that you will like these cupcakes as is.  I doubt any one besides a cake connoisseur would notice the crumb.  There isn’t anything really wrong with it because it is nice and moist, but it’s just not as light and tender as I like my cake to be.  The taste is fabulous, so fabulous that my coffee-hating husband couldn’t get enough of them.

So make these, you will love them if you love coffee, and perhaps even if you don’t.  Or, if you’re like me and prefer a lighter cake, you might try a different recipe for the cupcakes.  Personally, I’m either going to use chocolate cake next time, making them into mocha cream cupcakes, or sub really strong coffee for the water in a white or yellow cake mix recipe to get the texture I like.

To get this white streak effect, I used the same piping bag for the frosting that I used for the filling.  The residual white filling lined the bag and made a streaky look when I piped the buttercream onto the cupcakes.

Coffee & Cream Cupcakes

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 cup boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream filling
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup heavy cream

Coffee Buttercream
¼ cup Kahlua (here is a recipe to make your own)
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
Dash of salt

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the instant coffee and boiling water. Let the mixture bubble up for a few seconds, then turn off the heat. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pour the hot butter/coffee mixture over the top and stir to combine. Mix together the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla and add it to the bowl. Whisk until smooth (batter will be very thin). Using a levered ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake tins half full. You will have extra batter, which you can bake more cupcakes with or a small cake if you have a 6” cake pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the filling. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the powdered sugar and heavy cream and beat on low until sugar is moistened, then on high until light and fluffy. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or a squeeze bottle) with the filling. Push the tip or nozzle into each cupcake and squeeze filling into the center, pulling back once the top starts to rise, and stopping when the filling bursts through the top of the cupcake. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

For the buttercream, bring the Kahlua to a boil and stir in the coffee crystals. Set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy, then add the sugar, Kahlua mixture, and salt. Beat on low until sugar is moistened, then beat on high until smooth and creamy

To complete cupcakes, pipe swirls of coffee buttercream on top of the filled cupcakes. Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from the Coffee Cream Cake in Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond

Amish Friendship Banana Coffee Cake with Vanilla Chai Streusel

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As you may recall, I’ve been working on perfecting my banana bread recipe for next year’s state fair competition.  I’m on a personal mission to beat a certain lady whose banana bread has won first place for the last three years I’ve participated.  I’m not sure if it’s even possible, because she seems to have magical baking powers, judging by how many ribbons she wins each year.  But if I lose this year, it’s not because I didn’t try.

So far I’ve made seven recipes and have frozen a piece from each loaf so that by the time I feel that I’ve got a winner, I can do a taste-test comparison to make sure.  My husband and his co-workers (they’re my judges) all told me to stop after loaf number three, and they keep telling me that none of the loaves since that one have been as good, but I have to make sure I’ve really got the BEST one.  So I soldier on.

So what does my banana bread quest have to do with this coffee cake?  Well, it was actually inspired by the most recent banana bread I made. The bread version did not turn out as I had hoped, but this cake is utterly perfect.  The winning loaf of banana bread was one that I added cardamom to on a whim, and I figured that adding all the chai spices to it would make it even better.  I keep trying it in different ways, the latest with a chai streusel, but for some reason it’s never as good as the cardamom alone.  It’s giving me a twitch.  I really don’t want to submit a bread called “cardamom banana bread,” when I could submit “chai banana bread,” which sounds so much cooler!

Anyway, after making the chai streusel banana bread, which was good but not knock-your-socks-off, I still had three over-ripe bananas waiting to be used and I was just tired of reinventing my banana bread.  I had to do something else with those bananas.  I happened to get an email notification for a contest for new Amish Friendship Bread recipes at the same time my bananas were screaming to be used, so I defrosted one of the Amish Friendship Bread starters I saved months ago, and created this coffee cake with it.  I’m really hoping to get that $75 Amazon gift card with this one! :)

This is one delicious coffee cake, people.  I really love the flavor of the banana cake and the vanilla chai streusel with the crunchy toasted walnuts.  Match made in heaven.  This is my favorite Amish Friendship Bread recipe I’ve made to date!

If you want to make this but don’t have any Amish Friendship Bread Starter, click here to learn how to make the starter, or if you’re local, I might be able to hook you up if you request it quick enough–I still have one to spare.

Amish Friendship Banana Coffee Cake with Vanilla Chai Streusel

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Vanilla Chai Streusel:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped out
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
¾ cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour

Banana Coffee Cake:
3 large over-ripe bananas
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter a 13”x9” cake pan and set aside.

To make the chai streusel, combine the sugars, vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a small mixing bowl; stirring with a fork until well combined. Stir in the walnuts, then pour the butter over the top and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until incorporated. Set aside.

To make the coffee cake, mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the melted butter until completely incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk them in until fully incorporated. Add the sour cream and whisk until well combined, then whisk in the starter and vanilla until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving or covering with plastic wrap. Serve at room temperature.

A Veronica’s Cornucopia Original

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