I've been away for a few days sitting on the beach, drinking coffee and eating cupcakes. What else would I do but come home and sit in my garden, drink coffee and eat cupcakes? I'm consistent, at least.
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cup plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
120g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Cocoa powder, for dusting
For the Coffee Syrup:
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
For the Mascarpone Cream:
1 cup mascarpone
1 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners. Set aside.
Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and whisk them together. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and, with the mixer running, add one third of the dry ingredients and mix briefly. Add half of the buttermilk mixture. Add another third of the dry ingredients, followed by the second half of buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Fill the liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Coffee Syrup:
Put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
Make the Mascarpone Cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the thickened cream until firm peaks form.
In a separate bowl, use a wooden spoon or spatula to beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar. Do not over beat as mascarpone can become grainy if over mixed.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Brush each cupcake generously with the coffee syrup using a large brush. Spoon a floppy dollop of mascarpone cream onto each cupcake. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.