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Me and mascarpone – meant to be?

March 4, 2009

Chocolate Kahlua Coffee Cupcakes

Okay, I’ve discovered something about myself.  I really like to be liked.  I don’t need you to be my best friend or anything, but just to have a general fondness for me, you know?  So you can imagine how hard I’m trying to be friends with mascarpone cheese.  As I mentioned before, I get giddy just saying its name.  Go ahead – say it out loud.  Rolls right off your tongue, doesn’t it?  (C’mon, Bea – say it!)  It’s an ingredient I’m not quite comfortable around and perhaps I’m trying a little too hard.  I don’t know, but whatever the case, things are just not working out between us.  First, the pasta just didn’t quite do it for me.  It was okay – nothing terribly special.  Kind of like a date that doesn’t ever call you back.   I won’t miss it.
My friend wondered what else I’d be making with mascarpone.  Fate stepped in yesterday in a rather bizarre way when I opened the pantry door and a bottle of Kahlua fell out.  I kid you not – this actually happened.  Isn’t that weird?  I had rummaged through the pantry looking for this long-lost bottle of Kahlua a couple days ago just to see if it was still lurking around in there in case I decided to take the tiramisu plunge.  Anyway, when it nearly broke my toe, I figured it must be the day for a Kahlua dessert.  It took the form of chocolate Kahlua coffee cupcakes.

The basic cupcake recipe came from the book Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella. I made some alterations to amounts and ended up with 12 regular sized cupcakes and 6 minis.  The cupcakes were fine, but things really got annoying when I started making the frosting.  It was supposed to be a simple butter and mascarpone frosting, but I wanted it to be coffee flavored. The texture of this frosting was so peculiar – it just looked quite grainy, even though it tasted nice and smooth.  It never got that well-blended, shiny frosting look to it.  Believe me, it still tasted darn good, but it ticked me off.  I get so annoyed when I spend money on ingredients and then the finished product isn’t what I’d hoped it would be.

Really, mascarpone, what’s the deal?  I’m a good person.  You can ask around.  Okay, okay, I’ll give you one more chance.  I’ve got just enough mascarpone left for one more go-round, so we’ll have to wait a while to see how this little drama ends.

In the meantime, here is the cupcake recipe.  I’d suggest poking a lot of holes in the baked cupcakes so more coffee flavor gets in there.  I’m not even going to bother giving you the recipe for the frosting/filling, even though it was tasty – it was just too ugly and hard to work with to pass it on.  I’m going to try another coffee frosting some other time.  I definitely LOVE the taste and appearance of the filled cupcake.  I used the small end of a melon scoop to scoop out the center of each cupcake, smooshed some frosting in, then I replaced the top before I frosted the rest of the cupcake.  Doesn’t it just look delicious?  It really is.  Messy though, but who cares, really?

Recipe:  Chocolate Kahlua Coffee Cupcakes

(adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes)

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 c. cocoa powder

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1/4 c. cold water

1/4 c. Kahlua

1 c. + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Strong brewed coffee or espresso – just enough to dribble or brush over the tops of the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper liners.  In a large bowl, cream the butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and creamy.  Add egg yolks and continue to beat for another 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the water and Kahlua.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  You’ll be alternating these ingredients as you combine the cupcake batter.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the Kahlua/water mixture.  Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined.

With clean beaters and a large bowl, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks.  With a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the batter.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until cupcakes are done.  Once cupcakes are removed from the oven, poke a few holes in the tops of each cake with a skewer or toothpick and brush on the brewed espresso.  Cool completely.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2009 7:43 pm

    I think your frosting looks good and I love mascarpone cheese as do my children. Here’s how I “make” it often for them (& myself). Take a tub of softened mascarpone cheese, add some almond extract, and a bit of powdered sugar, mix it up. Place the mixture on top of strawberries that are cut up then sprinkle with toasted almond slices or slivers. I didn’t give amounts as I do it to taste and usually layer it in shot glasses. I’ve also cored strawberries and stuffed them with the mixture and drizzled semi sweet chocolate over the whole thing but those were for a party. You could add some pound cake and make a trifle. Sorry about being longwinded. Hope you and mascarpone can work it out! :-)

    Btw, best pic was the one where you took a bite and can see MORE frosting in the middle, can never have enough frosting! K, done now!

  2. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 4, 2009 10:43 pm

    Oh, Ingrid! You are a mascarpone goddess or something. Thank you for the delicious ideas. Maybe I can get this cheese to cooperate with me after all. I can’t wait for June now to get real, fresh strawberries!!
    – Shell

  3. informalblathering permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:13 am

    Mmm, that sounds amazing. I love tiramisu – it’s one of the first things I made for my blog. These cupcakes almost sound better, though.

  4. March 5, 2009 12:01 pm

    yummy, yummy, YUMMY! wow, that cupcake looks fantastic–like something you’d see in a cute little bakery’s display case. sorry you had so much trouble with the mascarpone…but honestly, i think the chocolate-Kahlua-coffee combo more than makes up for it :)

  5. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:37 pm

    informalblathering – I don’t know about choosing a cupcake over tiramisu. Don’t think I could do it…
    HappyTummy – Thank you, thank you! : )
    – Shell

  6. mmhuynh permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:33 pm

    YUM these look delicious, I love marscapone!

  7. March 6, 2009 8:03 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic combination of flavors! I’d love to try this- Using tofu mascarpone, of course. :)

  8. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 9, 2009 7:53 pm

    mmhuynh and BitterSweet – I’m with you….the chocolate/coffee combo is a keeper!
    – Shell

  9. cookievig permalink
    September 19, 2009 1:50 am

    Hi! I love marscarpone!! The blog looks great and I will make these cupcakes for my mother. She loves these flavors and I can’t resist a cupcake! The ingredients are swirling around in my head, do I have all the ingredients? How fast can I make them before the kids get up? I’ll let u know how I did. Please visit our site,, and click on our press page to see us in action. We would love for you to blog with us also! Happy baking.

    Judy & Joy

    Twice Baked Twins

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