Mar 182011

I’m typing this up with a snoring husband on my right and sleeping baby on the left. And the first quiet I’ve had all day, as well as the first time I’m able to sit down at the computer. So this is going to be a day late and a dollar short but I baked and dang it all, I’m gonna blog it.

I was googling around for some St. Patrick’s day cupcakes when I found Martha Stewart’s Irish coffee cupcakes. I like coffee (or well, lattes) and I like cupcakes so I figured it was win win. I’m going to tell you right off the bat I did not like these cupcakes. First fail from Martha for me.

The cupcakes are very very simple to make. It calls for instant espresso. You can find it in with the other instant coffee in a tiny jar for a lot of money. I wasn’t sure I needed to use instant, thought about just brewing a strong cup of espresso but decided I might as well follow the recipe. I should have went with my gut because I think real espresso made from great coffee like the local place I get it from would have made for better cupcakes.

I was expecting a really strong coffee taste with two tablespoons of instant espresso and I just didn’t get  it.  “Brewed” it looked pretty strong and it certainly smelled good. But the taste just wasn’t there.

The batter is this really rich looking brown color. Similar to what coffee ice cream looks like. I tasted it at this point and knew it wasn’t going to be great.

While they were baking again I knew they weren’t going to be great. I kept expecting the aroma of coffee to fill my house and it just didn’t.  I tasted one while still warm and thought to myself maybe the whiskey whipped cream would make it all come together. Nope.

Maybe there is a better instant espresso I can find? Maybe Martha has a can of great stuff and when she cooked them they were rich and flavorful. But as my 4yo said “they don’t taste like anything”.

They are pretty though. Martha says to top them with more espresso. I did, but also my local Wegmans had St. Patrick’s day sprinkles in the bulk foods so I bought a small scoop. I think they look pretty this way too:



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey
  • Instant-espresso powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cupcakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour water over espresso powder; let cool. Combine espresso with milk. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with espresso-milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (batter may look broken).
  2. Fill 15 cups (of two 12-cup muffin tins) three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool; turn out cupcakes from tins.
  3. Make the frosting: Whisk together cream and confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Add whiskey; whisk until slightly stiff peaks form.
  4. Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting; dust with espresso powder.


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