Recipe Testing – Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Sorry for the gap in transmission, I have been dealing with website stuff and blogging got left behind in all the technical details. But fear not I have some baking tales to regale you with, some recipe testing.


I am a big fan of an Espresso Martini, the lovely mix of vodka, espresso, kahlua and creme de cacao is a treat for the taste buds. If I see it on a menu I find it very difficult not to order it! So what about a cake version? I had a look on the interweb and found a few recipes (of course) and then I decided to try to devise one myself.

The first thing was what to use? I decided not to use vodka in the is first attempt, not sure that it will add anything to the taste in a baked version. The main things I wanted were the kahlua, espresso and creme de cacao. I decided that the creme de cacao would be good in the icing rather than the cake. At the time of making I couldn’t get my hands on a bottle of Kahlua for love nor money so went for Tia Maria (both are coffee rum-based liqueurs). Next was format, cake or cupcake? Given the flavours this would work better as a smaller cake, a cupcake shot if you will.

Using a basic cupcake recipe (125g flour, butter and sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder) I then added 50mls each of Tia Maria and espresso. I also added some cocoa powder (20g), adding an extra dimension to the taste. I used the creaming method and ended with a fairly liquid batter. They cooked for about 15 minutes at 180C. I used the icing recipe from Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake (cream cheese, icing sugar and double cream) and added the creme de cacao, it was about 2 tbsp to get the right flavour. I topped each cake with a coffee bean.


Tastewise: it was a lovely moist cake with a good hit of espresso and the cocoa powder added a nice mochaness to the taste. With the creme de cacao icing it worked quite well as an espresso martini. Next time I want to try it with vodka, take out the cocoa and use Kahlua so that it will be closer to the recipe for the cocktail. I think a chocolate covered coffee bean would work better as decoration too. But a good first attempt and I look forward to the next one!

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Posted in Cakes, Recipe