It was time to make something special for Winnie’s birthday. Besides that, I kind of owe her. She was one of my first friends in college, possibly the second person I met. We were sitting next to each other in an economics class (theater style seating) when I just fell asleep on her. I had yet to speak to her but I already drooled a bit. Anyone who will then foster a friendship with the weird girl that just fell asleep on them is surely the sweetest and most forgiving person ever. We’ve been friends for 12 years now.

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes 6

As I thought about ideas for Winnie’s birthday cake, I remembered that she drinks two Caramel Macchiato’s a day. Two! Yes, she mentioned how expensive it was getting. The thing is, I’ve never had a Caramel Macchiato. I don’t like my espresso drinks very sweet and that one just sounds like it would be. So, this cupcake is really inspired by the description I read of a Caramel Macchiato, more than my experience of one, but it turns out, Winnie thought it tasted quite like one and she is the expert.

Caramel Macchiato Cupcake 4

As an added touch, I wanted to make the coffee flavored cake stronger on the bottom, lighter on top, an effect that happens in espresso drinks as the frothy milk is mixed in. My way of doing that is to make the coffee cake batter and divide it in half, adding espresso powder to one half, and using the stronger half on the bottom, the lighter half on top. It is a little extra work but it’s subtle things like this that show extra care and love. (It’s not quite as visible as I had hoped for but you can taste a difference.) The cupcake is topped with fluffy meringue and drizzled with caramel, rounding out the flavors quite perfectly.

cupcake inside

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes
~about regular 16 cupcakes

Espresso/Coffee Cupcake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled to warm
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 rounded teaspoon instant espresso

Meringue Icing

  • 2 large egg white
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt

Caramel Drizzle

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions –

1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.Place paper liners in muffin tin.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Combine coffee, milk, and Kahlua in a cup and set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar together in the stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat yolks in one at a time.

4. Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then half of the liquid mixture. Scrape down sides, then beat in another third of flour mixture, then the rest of the liquid, then the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and divide batter in half.

5. Leave half of batter as is. Stir instant espresso into the other half.

cofffee cupcake batter 2

6. Drop batter into prepare cupcake liners by putting the espresso batter in as bottom half, and spooning the coffee (non-espresso) batter on top. (In picture: left is espresso batter, right is with coffee non-espresso batter on top)

cofffee cupcake batter

7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing them to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

cofffee cupcake

8. Meringue Icing

*Don’t make meringue until cupcakes have cooled.

Set up a double boiler. Whisk together meringue icing ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer by hand. Put over double boiler and whisk as it warms to about 130 degrees F (sugar dissolved). Attach to mixer and use the whisk attachment on medium speed to whip until cooled, about 5 minutes. Drop onto cupcakes immediately. (Tip: Put something under the wire rack to catch drippings.)

coffee cupcake with meringue frosting

9. Caramel Drizzle

*Making a small amount of caramel is a little more challenging because you have a smaller window of caramelized sugar to burnt. Make sure everything is ready by the stove before starting.

Spread sugar evenly across the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepot and put over medium-high flame. Try not to touch the sugar but watch carefully as it melts. As soon as it is browning, you can start to stir. When it looks like all of it has browned lightly, remove the pot from heat and stir in butter. Be careful because it will bubble violently. Bring it back to the flame and stir for a few seconds until smooth. Remove from the heat again and add heavy cream, again careful of violent bubbling. Stir rapidly until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool to luke warm.

Drizzle over the cupcakes.

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes 7


You can make the cake part a day before and store in airtight containers after they have cooled. Once you make the icing you have to plop it on the cupcakes immediately, but once cupcakes have been completely assembled, they can be held in room temperature for several hours before service.

posted by jessica at 10:39 AM Filed under Desserts, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.