Confession: I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I know, in this world full of Starbucks and Costas that’s pretty shocking, right? The thing is, I can’t do caffeine, and getting decaf and vegan options at a coffee shop is always a little risk for me. So, I don’t really drink much coffee. This doesn’t mean I think coffee tastes bad though. One thing I really love is coffee cake.
Coffee cake is something that I believe means different things in different places. I have learnt that in America, coffee cake is cake that you eat with coffee. Like a biscuit for your tea. In the UK, however, coffee cake is cake that tastes like coffee. Coffee flavoured cake. I think our way makes more sense, because if you have a chocolate cake, it is a chocolate flavoured cake, right, not a cake you eat with chocolate? Anyway, these cakes are coffee flavoured. The buttercream is also coffee flavoured! And they’re all topped with a caramel drizzle – because caramel and coffee go very well together.
When using coffee in things like cakes, the easiest way is to use instant coffee. You don’t need to worry about posh tasting coffee because in a cake, you can’t really tell, and instant coffee gives you the ability to just dissolve some in water to get the amount you need. You can make a really concentrated coffee that flavours your cake well without adding too much extra liquid. However, if you don’t have access to instant coffee, you could make up a really really strong cup of coffee and use a similar amount, liquid wise.
To make the caramel sauce, I boil together some vegan butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a saucepan for five minutes, then add a little milk (I used almond milk) and beat it until it thickened up. I used an electric whisk for this because it makes it easier, if you want to do it by hand, use a wooden spoon and beat for a while until it is thickened and opaque.
Coffee Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle
- For the Cakes
- 300ml milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 300g plain flour
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100ml oil
- 160g sugar
- 2 heaped tsp instant coffee
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- 75g vegan butter (I used vitalite)
- 600g icing sugar
- 2 tsp instant coffee
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- 50g vegan butter
- 100g brown sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- 25g white sugar
- 50ml milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Buttercream
For the Caramel Drizzle
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
- First, make the cakes. Begin by combining the milk and the cider vinegar in a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarb, and baking powder.
- Mix together the instant coffee and boiling water until the coffee dissolves. Add this to the milk mixture.
- Into this, add the oil and sugar, and whisk with a fork until all well combined.
- Gradually pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring, until well mixed with no lumps.
- Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, and place into your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into a cake comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes completely cool before you make the icing.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, begin the buttercream. Start by mixing together the instant coffee and boiling water in a cup, and setting aside.
- Next, in a large bowl, add the butter and a third of the icing sugar. Mix well.
- Add another third of the icing sugar and mix again until well combined. Stir in the coffee.
- Then, add the remaining icing sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe the icing on top of your cupcakes.
- Finally, make the caramel drizzle. In a small saucepan, add the butter, sugars, and golden syrup, and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for five minutes on a low-medium heat, then remove from the heat and add the salt and milk.
- Mix, either with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, continuously until the caramel thickens and starts to go opaque.
- Drizzle the caramel on top of the iced cupcakes.
- Store in the fridge!