Adapted from Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti
Makes a little over 4 dozen mini cupcakes (or 1 dozen regularly-sized cupcakes)
For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cp granulated sugar
1 extra-large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbl espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
finely grated zest from 1 orange
For the frosting:
12 oz white chocolate (I like this brand, and it’s easy to find in most grocery stores.)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbl heavy whipping cream
2 Tbl espresso powder
To make the cupcakes: Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions (for the mini cupcakes) or one in the middle position (for regularly-sized cupcakes).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk combine the egg, milk, oil, vanilla extract, the dissolved espresso powder and the orange zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
Either line a mini (or regularly-sized) muffin pan with mini (or regularly-sized) cupcake liners, or spray with vegetable-oil spray. (It’s best to spray at the last minute. Keeps the sticking to a minimum.)
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. For the mini cupcakes, use a scant tablespoon per cup. For regularly-sized cupcakes, fill each cup about 2/3 to 3/4-way full. Bake until puffed and springy to the touch, about 12 minutes for mini cupcakes and between 15 and 20 minutes for regularly-sized cupcakes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. (Cooling completely also keeps the sticking factor down.) When cool remove the cupcake from the muffin cups.
To make the frosting: Place the white chocolate in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepot set over medium heat, whisk together the cream and the espresso powder, and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted.
At this point, depending on the brand of chocolate you use, you may need to cool down the frosting a bit, in order for it to keep it’s shape atop the cupcakes. Place the bowl of frosting over a large bowl filled with ice water, and stir with a rubber spatula until thickened to a spreadable frosting-like consistency. Then transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star attachment (smaller star for the mini cupcakes, and a larger star for the regularly-sized ones). Top each cupcake with frosting by piping it in a circular motion, starting from the outside, and curling your way in, ending with a pointed tip.
Refrigerate until needed, but be sure to bring to room temperature before serving.