Caramel, coffee, chocolate, all united in a lovely symphony of taste. Deep chocolate and coffee flavours come from the unsweetened cocoa powder, and freshly brewed hot coffee in the cupcakes, while the sweet caramel stems from the buttercream. As with all chocolate cupcakes, use the highest quality cocoa powder you can, as it determines both the taste and texture of the cupcakes. Some types of cocoa powder and make the finished product rather dry. As for the liqueur, I used Dulseda, but feel free to use any sweet caramelly liqueur, to intensify the flavour of the frosting.
For the cupcakes
120 grams plain flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 medium eggs
100 grams sugar
120 grams plain yogurt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
120 ml hot coffee
For the caramel butter cream
250 grams butter, softened
100 grams instant caramel pudding powder
100 grams icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons caramel liqueur (like Dulseda)
Place the eggs in a large bowl, sprinkle on the sugar and whisk vigorously for about a minute, until lighter in colour and slightly thickened. Add the yogurt and oil and blend it well. Sift together the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, then quickly add it to the wet ingredients and combine it with as few strokes as possible, being careful not to overmix the batter. Add the hot coffee and mix until incorporate. Divide the batter evenly between 12 standard muffin cups (lined with paper liners) and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 12-15 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to make sure they do not overbake. Once they are baked, let them cool completely before frosting.
For the buttercream, place the butter in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on high for about 2-3 minutes, until completely light and fluffy. Add the caramel pudding powder and blend for another 2 minutes on high. Add the sifted icing sugar and repeat the mixing, until well blended. Finally, add the liqueur until you reach your desired buttercream texture. Once the cupcakes are cooled, transfer the buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a large nozzle (like Wilton 1M) and decorate the cupcakes as desired. Keep them refrigerated until serving. Yields 12 standard cupcakes.