I love making cupcakes because they’re so pretty, but man, they’re so much work! This is probably because I’m on a filled cupcake kick. I bought a cupcake corer and I’m obsessed with it.
My recipe inspiration for these was a Caramel Frappucino cupcake recipe from Pixie Crust. Spoiler alert: I changed it a lot. I just don’t have that much time on my hands.
Step 1 – this is going to make all you baking purists hate me – I used a boxed cake mix, OMG.
I’ll let you all recover for a minute.
We done? Good.
Here’s the thing. Go read the original recipe from Pixie Crust. There’s like 50 million steps!!!!
So back to my Step 1. Chocolate cake mix – with pudding in the mix! Follow the instructions on the box (this is rocket science, I tell ya!). I added an instant coffee packet to the water, to make mocha flavored cupcakes. MMMM. Makes 24 cupcakes.
Step 2. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the mousse. I halved it, so the measurements are kind of weird. It was an awkward recipe to halve, but you will have way too much mousse if you don’t. (I didn’t, but I’m halving it for you because I love you).
For the Coffee Mousse (Recipe from Epicurious)
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/6 cup water
1 and 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
1 and 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (you can never have too much Kahlua!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk sugar, yolks, water and espresso powder in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water); whisk until candy thermometer registers 160°F, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until cool and thick, about 5 minutes.
Beat cream, liqueur and vanilla in another large bowl until stiff peaks form – this might take a while. Fold cream mixture into egg mixture.
Step 3. Core the cupcakes!
Once cupcakes are cool, core out the center of each one. If you don’t have a corer, you can use a knife to hollow the cupcake out.
Using a pastry bag or large ziplock bag with a corner snipped off, pipe coffee mousse until the center is full. Once all cupcakes are filled, pipe frosting onto each one. I ended up frosting the cupcakes with my leftover mousse (because I didn’t halve the recipe, boo!), but I think it would have been better to use something different for the frosting. I felt like, with the mousse as the frosting AND the filling, it wasn’t exciting when you got to the center of the cupcake, because you were like “Oh, it’s just more frosting. LAME.”
So you should make this delicious sounding frosting recipe from Pixie Crust:
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Heat sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Return bowl to mixer, and whisk, gradually increasing speed from low to medium-high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to a paddle attachment and beat until air bubbles are gone, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Curious how I got that stripe of chocolate in my mousse frosting?
I based it off this method from Our Best Bites, where you essentially paint a stripe INSIDE your pastry bag/ziplock back with gel food coloring, or in my case, melted chocolate.
Before you put your frosting/mousse into the pastry bag, carefully paint vertical streaks of chocolate or food coloring all the way down to the tip. THEN add your frosting. You have to try to drop the frosting straight down into the center of the bag so you don’t smudge the lines too much.
And then you get awesome stripes in your frosting!