Caramel Coffee Meringue Cupcakes
This week, I challenged Dylan to come up with a cupcake we could make without having to go the store to get anything special for it. Dylan agreed, and we came up with this coffee-inspired cupcake. We took a basic cake recipe and added in strongly brewed coffee and Dick’s Imperial Stout. The beer was dark and malty, seemingly a good match for the coffee flavor we were going for.
I was hoping to get the baking done early in the day, so I fired up the oven around 11 am, cracked a beer, and got to mixing. Usually our oven takes a while to heat up, but an hour later it still had not reached 200 degrees. I knew something was wrong. [Insert giant sad face here] How can we work without an oven? Luckily for us, our toaster oven stepped in to save the day. I could go on a long spiel about how awesome toaster ovens are, but I’ll spare you [they’re awesome, everyone should own one]. I’m glad we have one, but I did have to make these cupcakes 6 at a time. My hopes of baking the cupcakes early, getting them frosted and done by early afternoon was gone.
After the long bake-a-thon, and a skype chat with my mom, we were ready to make frosting. Our idea was to make a meringue frosting (looking like the foam on top of a coffee? maybe…) and then top it with a small pool of caramel. Apparently I wanted to make these as messy as possible, and was quite successful at it. My meringue turned out pretty good, that stuff can be tricky sometimes. I tried to create a place for the caramel to sit without oozing all over the place (you can kind of tell from the pictures) – then broiled them to hold their shape. Once they were out, I used the stickiest caramel on earth, and poured some on top. What. A. Mess.
After all that drama with the oven dying, it was finally time to sit down and do a taste test. Now, maybe I’m biased because I gravitate towards chocolate desserts, but these cupcakes were just alright to me. It’s not that they were bad, I just don’t think the coffee flavor came through enough for my liking. The meringue was tasty, the caramel was messy. I’d say if we attempted to make these again, I’d probably change up the recipe a bit and add espresso instead of just the strong brew. I’d also skip the meringue and go for a whipped cream frosting, seems that it would be more fitting for a coffee-type cake. Okay, and I’d probably make them chocolate, too. [Don’t judge me.]
My apologies to any coworkers that get sticky fingers tomorrow after trying one of these!
– Jackie & Dylan