Turkish coffee is very finely ground coffee that’s brewed in a special pot (traditionally a copper pot with a narrow neck) called an ibrik or cezve. The finely ground coffee is typically spiced with cardamom before brewing, which gives it a very unique flavor. Sugar can be added to the coffee (depending on personal preference) but milk is never added. Once the coffee is brewed it’s poured into small cups called fincans, which are similar to espresso or demitasse cups; the dregs settle to the bottom and are left in the cup when the coffee is drunk. Turkish coffee is almost magical…it’s smooth and velvety and the different flavor notes of the coffee really come through. (I won’t say anything else about Turkish coffee…it’s actually fabulous enough to warrant its own post!)
What does Turkish coffee have to do with these cupcakes? One Sunday morning Mike and I were drinking Turkish coffee and I was wishing for a little something sweet to go with my coffee, and these cute little cupcakes were born. The flavors in these cupcakes echo the flavors in Turkish coffee, but they would pair well with any kind of coffee.
I originally wanted to make caramel buttercream to frost these little beauties. I attempted making Martha Stewart’s recipe for caramel buttercream but it just wasn’t meant to be; somewhere along the way I really massacred the recipe. When I started to whip the caramel into the buttercream, the caramel hardened right onto the paddle of my mixer…it was not a pretty sight to say the least. It turned out okay in the end though because these cupcakes are moist enough that they don’t need any frosting.
Flavor of Cardamom: Cardamom has a very complex flavor and strong aroma; the best way I can describe it is that it’s floral and a little sweet with notes of pepper and lemon.
Spiced Coffee Cupcakes
(Yield: 12 cupcakes)
1 c white sugar
1 TB molasses
1/2 c canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 TB good quality Turkish-ground coffee
1 1/3 c flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Powdered sugar (optional, to dust the tops)
Cupcake baking tray
12 cupcake liners (if using)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cupcake baking tray with 12 liners and lightly spray the inside of each liner with cooking spray. Beat together the sugar, molasses, oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, and coffee. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, allspice, and cardamom. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring just enough to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking tray and bake for about 16-19 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a crumb or two. Dust the tops with powdered sugar if using.