Espresso Cupcakes

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Our international adventures have come to an end, at least for now. While I was really sad to leave Thailand behind, I was unbelievably excited to get back into the kitchen. Cupcakes seemed like a natural thing to bake since I haven’t eaten too many in the past year, and when I found these little gems with chocolate and espresso (two of my favorite things), I couldn’t resist.

Nigella Lawson’s recipes are usually winners, and these cupcakes are no exception. The recipe calls for self-rising cake flour, which isn’t a pantry staple, but I just used regular self-rising flour with no adverse results (you can also make self-rising flour by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt). They are perfectly chocolate-y with a thick, rich chocolate-espresso icing.

The icing hardens nicely after a few hours, but I think these are particularly decadent when eaten while the icing is still warm.

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Recipe:
(adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup self rising flour, sifted
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tbsp milk

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp instant espresso
2 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 400F
Cream the butter and add the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Stir in the flour, cocoa, and coffee powder and mix just until combined. Stir in the milk.
Divide the batter into a 12-cup muffin pan prepared with paper liners. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 14-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, combine the butter, espresso powder, and chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

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