Poppy Pendle’s ‘Coffee Cup Cakes’
Like magic? How about treats?
Deerfield children’s book author Natasha Lowe has a well-established reputation for making book readings fun. Now that she’s released her second book set in Poppy Pendle’s world, Lowe is set to have a book signing and reading at World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield on Saturday. Her website had this to say about what she plans: “Come and help celebrate the release of my new book ‘The Courage of Cat Campbell’! I will be reading from ‘Cat’ at 2 p.m. and again at 3 p.m. There will be lots of magical fun going on and spells to take home, plus Raising your Spirits Cake and Giggle Bars to help chase away the January blues.” See “Literary.”
Poppy Pendle dreamed up these delicious treats after drinking her first cup of French-brewed coffee at her favorite bakery.
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1∕2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1∕2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3∕4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour (or you can use regular flour and 11∕4 teaspoons of baking powder and mix them well before adding to the batter)
1∕4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the milk into a little dish (a small china ramekin is ideal) and warm it in the microwave for about ten seconds. If you don’t have a microwave, just warm some milk gently in a saucepan and measure out 1 tablespoon into a little dish. Sprinkle the espresso powder over the milk, and stir to blend.
If there is a food processor in your home, ask an adult to help you set it up and whiz all the cake ingredients together, including the espresso-flavored milk. Then go to the pouring and baking step.
Otherwise, put your stick of softened butter into a large bowl, and, using a hand-held mixer, whiz the butter around until it is nice and fluffy. Pour the sugar on top and beat together with the butter until well blended. Go slowly at first because you don’t want sugar flying all over the counter.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You can ask an adult to help you with this if you like because you don’t want bits of eggshell in the batter. Add the vanilla extract, then the self-rising flour (or flour and baking powder) and the salt and mix quickly again. You don’t want to over mix the ingredients or your cakes will be tough.
Now, mix the powerful espresso flavored milk into your cake batter, scraping around the little dish to make sure you get it all in. The batter will turn a rich coffee color and smell delicious.
Arrange 12 paper cup-cake wrappers inside a muffin tin or, if you want to make miniature cup cakes, you will need about 36 mini paper wrappers for a mini muffin pan. Fill each cup halfway with cake batter, and bake for 16 to 20 minutes for regular cup cakes, 9 to 14 minutes for minis. You might want to ask an adult to help you get the cakes into and out of the oven. Let cool them on a wire rack.
Makes 12 regular sized cup cakes or about 36 mini cup cakes.
You can make this while the cup cakes are baking.
21∕2 tablespoons milk
11∕2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 stick softened butter
11∕4 cups confectioner’s sugar
As many chocolate-flavored coffee beans as you have cup cakes
Pour the milk into a tiny dish. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 10 seconds and sprinkle the espresso powder on top. Stir to blend.
Put the softened butter into a large bowl and shake the confectioner’s sugar on top. Using a big wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer (Lowe likes to use a hand-held mixer because it makes the frosting really smooth and creamy), gently stir the espresso-flavored milk into the mixture and blend together until soft and creamy. Go slowly to begin with; otherwise you will have sugar all over your counter! If you want a softer frosting, just add a drop or two more milk.
Using a dinner knife, smooth the frosting on top of the cup cakes and decorate with a coffee-flavored chocolate bean.