Mocha Frappuccino Cupcakes

"These are a few of my favorite things"

My current creativity level isn't up to creating a new verse to my favorite song from "The Sound of Music" that includes coffee, chocolate, cupcakes, and Starbucks edible cookie coffee straws.....but believe me, if I could, they would all be in there! 

I had a package of Starbucks chocolate cookie straws, and was looking to create a quick and cute mocha cupcake recipe - these didn't last long when I took them to work the next day! Seriously, if you love mochas and cupcakes and you're short on time, you've found the perfect recipe! 

I added instant espresso powder to a doctored-up chocolate cupcake mix, filled the cupcakes with chocolate/coffee ganache, and then topped them with a swirl of white 'whipped cream' frosting, mini chocolate chips, and a cookie straw - easy, fast, and fun :) 

Recipe below! 

1 boxed chocolate cake mix
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c cold coffee
2 T instant espresso powder (make sure you use espresso powder and not coarse instant coffee granules; they may not dissolve completely) 
1/2 c butter, melted

1 c (6 oz) chocolate chips
1 c (8 oz) heavy whipping cream

1 package (8oz) cream cheese
1 stick (8T) butter
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 T whipping cream

1/2 c mini chocolate chips 
9-12 Starbucks cookie straws (available at Costco or Amazon

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line cupcake pans with paper wrappers.
Combine eggs, coffee, and espresso powder in a bowl, and blend in the melted butter. Stir in the cake mix and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
Divide into cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. 
Bake for time specified on box; mine took about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. Chill until thick enough to pipe into cupcake centers, but don't let it solidify completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, you're ready to core them. There are a few ways you can do can buy a cupcake corer, you can try using the non-business-end of a large piping tip, can do what I do and cut a cone-shaped core out with a plastic knife. Up to you ;) I haven't the foggiest idea why cupcake crumbs don't stick to plastic knives like they do regular knives, but the plastic knife's been working too well for me to feel the need to invest in any fancy corers ;) Pipe your ganache into your cored cupcakes - it doesn't have to look pretty, so I often use a zip-lock bag for this part. ;)

To make the frosting, beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with the whipping cream until frosting reaches desired taste, color, and consistency. Beat for a several minutes, until lighter in color and slightly fluffy. Pipe in large swirls onto your cupcakes (or however you feel like icing them ;) ) and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Press a section of cookie straw into the top of  each frosting swirl. Done and done! Enjoy! :)

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