what a week… i think we all agree that our hearts go out to the city of boston and the tiny town of west.
cs lewis said that pain is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” i believe it is true. prayers are lifted, humanity joins together, and our souls unite for justice, peace, and hope. suffering works to focus our distracted attention from the frivolous and brings us back to the things that are most valuable. i hope we can hang onto those precious and eternal things we have all been crudely reminded of these past days…
meanwhile, we breathe easier after friday night, knowing righteousness is alive in boston. bad guys still get got. and, Lord, may they be the end of that story. as for west, the sweet little town i’ve driven through hundreds of times on i-35, where i’ve purchased boxes of kolaches (in my gluten-eating days) and even polka-ed in their meeting hall… prayers of comfort continue for you.
these big things do help put my own things in perspective. i continue to give thanks and sow seeds of joy, even with the small. and am so grateful to have moments to return to some of the simple things that bring smiles and comfort to my own life.
a few of those things are listed here… 1. baking 2. chocolate 3. coffee 4. cupcakes 5. this blog.
it’s been several months since i’ve had the time to participate in the recipe redux. however, when i read that this month’s “challenge” was all about cupcakes, i knew that the list above could all be joined together in a very hopeful way. while watching the man-hunt in boston playing out on my television screen, my son at preschool… these were born.
i will admit that they aren’t tremendously “redux-ed” to the perfect picture of health. it’s a cupcake. and i believe a cupcake is a classic that deserves to occasionally reserve a place in everyone’s life. and like cupcakes, chocolate, and coffee have at times gotten a bad rap for being unhealthy. however…dark chocolate and natural cocoa have been documented in more than 250 studies as having tremendous health benefits, specifically with respect to cardiovascular health, cholesterol, and blood pressure. not to mention the serotonin release that brings on that happy chocolate feeling. according to hershey, “recent research suggests that cocoa powder has significantly higher flavanol levels than other popular super fruit powders such as pomegranate, cranberry, acai and blueberry. natural cocoa contains more than 700 phytonutrient compounds, some of which research is just beginning to uncover.”
coffee has recently been receiving some rather glowing press too. studies are showing that moderate amounts coffee can lower your risk for parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and certain cancers.alone they are obviously delightful. together they pull out the best in each other’s flavors. “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
chocolate. coffee. cupcakes. for me… a simple recipe for joy.
Yield 12 cupcakes
- 1/2 cup brewed, cooled coffee
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup melted, cooled coconut oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) kumquat's all-purpose flour or other gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup dark or regular cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
- 3 tablespoons brewed, cooled coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa or higher), melted and cooled
- 8 ounces powdered sugar
- t!For Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Combine coffee, cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla, coconut oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to coffee mixture; stir well. Add buttermilk to mixture and stir until well-combined.
- Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- Beat butter with a mixer (stand mixer, if you can) until pale and fluffy. Add cocoa powder, espresso powder, cooled coffee, vanilla, and cooled chocolate. Beat until well-combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is nicely spreadable, but not stiff. (add more coffee, if frosting is too stiff.) Try not to eat the entire bowl prior to frosting cupcakes.
* this recipe was originally published with an ingredient error, but has been corrected.