Makes approximately 18+ cupcakes
9 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour (please actually use cake flour-- it makes a difference)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup milk (either whole or 2%)
Espresso Buttercream Frosting
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depending on how stiff you want your icing)
1 1/2 tsps instant espresso powder (additional powder to taste)
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp milk
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. (If Crisco grosses you out, you can use all butter.) Scrape sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The icing at this point will be very dry and stiff.
In a small bowl, mix together the vanilla and instant espresso powder. Add to the icing and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add milk one Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. Note: in this house, we like our coffee, so we like a very strong espresso flavor in the icing. When I add the milk at this point, I usually dissolve another tsp of the espresso powder into it before adding it to the icing. The amount of espresso powder to add is up to your personal taste-- just be sure to dissolve it in the milk! Do not add it directly to the icing.
Assembly: Core the cooled cupcakes (tutorial here). Fill each cupcake with approximately 1 Tbsp of ganache-- don't overfill or the cupcake hats won't go back on! Frost using a large star tip on a pastry bag, or a baggie with the corner cut off. Eat and enjoy!