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Instant espresso powder is the key to the signature coffee flavor of Cup-of-Joe Cupcakes.

I discovered coffee two years ago.

It’s not that I never knew of its existence; it’s that I never knew of the experience and all that a cup of Joe holds.

It’s warm. Inviting. Calming. Security — like a blanket in a world of faceless people that is awkward at best — coffee nourishes more than just a body, it turns the light on to possibilities. It’s always there. It’s predictable and offers a warm hug that says, “Go out and be awesome!”

And it’s delicious. Falling in love with the ritual of drinking coffee, because it is a ritual for me, I recognize the flavor pairs well with pastries, cookies and cakes.

It’s only a natural inclination for me to wonder how it could enhance one of my favorite indulgences — cupcakes. I wonder no more. It’s as spectacular as I had imagined it would be.

Coffee cupcakes are your new go-to morning brew in the form of a soft, fluffy, mini cake. I’m still going to have my coffee every morning, but I’m having my Cup-of-Joe Cupcakes and eating it, too.

Cup-of-Joe Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 T., plus 1 tsp. instant espresso power

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

2 T. whole milk

Buttercream chocolate icing

12 T. unsalted butter, softened

4 to 6 T. heavy cream

2 T. instant espresso powder

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Salt

4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 T. Cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Whisk the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy. Add in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until mixed, then add in the sour cream and milk. Beat in the dry ingredients.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing, place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add in the milk, espresso powder, vanilla and sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. When the cupcakes are cooled, frost them individually.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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