Before you begin to make the cupcakes or the frosting, make the chocolate swirls so that they have time to set up.
To make chocolate swirls, melt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small microsafe bowl in for 30 seconds. Stir. Keep melting for intervals of 20 seconds, stirring between intervels, until the chocolate is melted and creamy (Don’t over heat the chocolate. It shouldn’t be hot, it should be just lukewarm). Using a plastic disposible pastry bag and a round decorating tip-#7, pipe chocolate making swirls onto wax paper lined sheet pan. Put into swirls into refrigerator until ready to use.
To make cupcakes, use any boxed chocolate cake mix. If you have the time and the energy, make them from scratch. Follow instructions on back of box, but increase water to 1 ½ cup and add ¼ cup of instant cappuccino mix. Use any kind of cappuccino mix. For an intense espresso flavor I would suggest using 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso granules to the cappuccino mix. Follow instructions on back of box for baking cupcakes.
Caramel Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup good quality vegetable shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teapsoon cocoa powder (for color) and a little more for dusting
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon caramel flavoring
4 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 or more tablespoons heavy cream
Note: Scrape down sides of bowl often.
- Sift your four cups of confectioners’ sugar in to a large bowl and set aside.
- Cream shortening and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed.
- Add vanilla and carmel flavoring to butter and shortening mixture and beat well on medium speed.
- Stop mixer and add cocoa powder and sifted confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time. Beat on low speed (otherwise you will have sugar all over the place) until sugar is incorporated into the butter mixture then turn mixer to medium speed and beat for about 30 seconds. Keep doing this until you have used all of the confectioner’s sugar. Mixture will be dry.
- Add cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get a medium consistency.
- Keep beating until light and fluffy for 5 or more minutes again, scraping down sides of bowl often.
Frost cupcakes as you desire. Dust cocoa powder on top of each frosted cupcake then top each with a chocolate swirl (carefully remove swirls with a small spatula).
Keep cupcakes in refrigerator as the chocolate may melt.