Leaving the bank was somewhat bittersweet. I was participating in the Secret Santa gift exchange for the first time in a year or so, and I’d received a gift from my secret Santa on my last day. It was a tin filled with baking supplies, all winter-themed. I set them aside, but when Winter decided to rear its ugly head once again, I thought I’d use some of them and make Winter Cupcakes.
They’re nothing more than chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, and winter sprinkles. But they’re well-suited to the frozen expanse that is usually winter in South Dakota. We got lucky this year, thanks to El Niño. We’ve had one other blast of snow, and that’s been it so far. After most other winters here in SoDak, I’ll take it.
Though I have to admit, part of me is enjoying the fact that I DON’T have to be out in this mess for the time being. When you’re a kid and can go out and just play in the snow, you don’t care. When you’re an adult and you have to dig yourself out, then drive to work, and then do the same at the end of the working day, it’s a mess, and everyone is tired, dejected, and crabby.
But Winter Cupcakes pair well with a cup of cocoa or tea, and are a nice pick-me-up after a chilly, dreary day.
Heaven knows the bambino is loving having all these treats and goodies to stuff in his little face! I’m loving having the extra time for all the projects I used to cram into the two days I didn’t work during the week. I can stretch everything out, which is nice.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together to combine.
In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder until the cocoa is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high until lightened.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the coffee extract.
On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the cocoa-coffee mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
Using a large (3-Tbsp) scoop, place the batter in the prepared pans. Bake 22-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in several cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans before removing and cooling completely on wire racks.
To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. On low speed, add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp. of the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes, then add additional milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until the frosting is spreadable. Decorate with snowflake sprinkles.