I turned to the same book the cupcakes came from - Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Quicker Smarter Recipes. I modified it just barely, and the result was spectacular (and a huge hit at the hair salon I shared them with! The recipe uses instant espresso powder and Dutch processed cocoa for a velvety smooth, incredibly rich spread that I wouldn't hesitate to schmear on graham crackers (or toast... whatever), but by warming it slightly it's an amazingly rich cake or cookie filling! Let the kiddies have their vanilla pudding and jam fillings, this one's for the adults in the room!
Espresso Fudge Filling
Makes 1/2 cup, 8 servings
1 oz salted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
0.6 oz Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp instant espresso powder
pinch sea salt
2.5 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and salt and stir in until smooth.
- Slowly stir in the cream and continue to cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour into a bowl and chill at least 2 hours before use. Re-stir before spreading.
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 14.1 mg
Sodium: 25.4 mg
Total Carbs: 10.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 0.5 g
To make the finished cupcakes pretty, and secret away the surprise of the filling, I went all vanilla again. Again, from Medrich's book, I was amazed at how non-cloying this was - it was sweet, of course, but it had flavour and a lightness that storebought frostings lack - probably thanks to the vanilla bean steeping in the cream, plus the vanilla sugar and good extract I broke out again! If I was using it on plain vanilla or spice cupcakes I'd have added a pinch of the "doughnut spice" nutmeg too for that "little bit extra".
Super Vanilla Frosting
Makes 2 cups
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp salt
seeds and pod of 1/2 vanilla bean (optional but delicious)
1 tbsp pure vanilla
2 oz butter, cool but not hard (I suggest organic, like Kalona)
2 oz shortening, cool but not hard
- Whisk together the cream, sugar and salt (and vanilla pod, if using) in a saucepan.
- Cover and bring to a simmer, then uncover and boil gently for 1 minute.
- Pour immediately into a bowl and cool at room temperature, without stirring, for 45 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod.
- Fill a larger bowl with ice water and set the bowl of vanilla mixture inside.
- With electric beaters, beat in the vanilla extract, butter and shortening until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Use immediately or store in a covered container up to 1 week in the fridge.
Total Fat: 8.6 g
Cholesterol: 17.8 mg
Sodium: 23.3 mg
Total Carbs: 9.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.2 g
Both these recipes are submitted to Gluten Free Mondays and Gluten Free Fridays
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