Without a doubt, my biggest pregnancy craving has been iced vanilla lattes. I could probably drink 2-3 a day, though I limit myself to one (decaf) a few times a week. And then I started making my own, and it was all over. So one afternoon I had a hankering to make cupcakes, and it seemed like an obvious choice to recreate my favorite drink as a dessert.
The cake portion of the cupcake was so good that I ate two naked ones. And I'm totally a frosting girl, so that just goes to show you how delicious it was! And then the icing... oh the icing. I debated between doing a buttercream and a flavored whipped cream, and I ended up going with a vanilla bean and coffee flavored Swiss Meringue Buttercream. One of the things I love the most about Swiss meringue is that despite the crazy amount of butter in it, it always tastes so light. American buttercream can be cloyingly sweet, and can overpower the other flavors. But Swiss Meringue is a great base frosting that allows your flavors to shine.
Joey called these "breakfast cupcakes" because he said they tasted like morning. I just called them my favorite cupcakes ever.
Vanilla Latte Cupcakes
adapted from Cook Like a Champion, originally from Cupcake Bakeshop
makes about 18 cupcakes
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs dark roast coffee grounds
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
- 2 Tbs Coffee Liqueur or milk if non alcoholic
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the brewed coffee, milk, and liqueur.
Starting and ending with the flour, in a few additions alternately add the flour and milk mixture to the mixer, mixing on low speed until just incorporated.
Divide the batter between 18 cupcake liners, filling each cup about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from Sweetapolita
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup1 (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped OR 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (or to taste) dissolved into 2 teaspoons boiling water
- Pinch of salt
Attach the bowl to the mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment). Starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, beat the mixture until the bottom of the bowl cools to room temperature and the egg whites are thick and glossy and form soft peaks.
While mixing, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Continue mixing until the frosting comes together. Switch to the paddle attachment and over medium speed, add in the vanilla extract, vanilla bean, coffee mixture, and salt. Beat until well combined and taste and adjust flavorings as necessary.
Frost cupcakes as desired
*Note - this frosting recipe makes just enough to frost the 18 cupcakes as shown, so if you like to pile it on, I would make 1.5 times the recipe.