Tiramisu Cupcakes

From 6 Bittersweets
Makes 10 to 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes (Recipe below)
Coffee Soaking Syrup (Recipe below)
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting (Recipe below)
Cocoa powder OR semi-sweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
Chocolate-covered coffee beans OR chocolate chips, for garnish

Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake and set it to the side. Using a spoon or pastry brush, coat the sides and bottom of the opening with coffee syrup. (You don't want the cake to be soggy, but you can be fairly generous here - up to 2 tablespoons)

Fill the opening with the cream cheese mixture, brush the bottom of the cone with a little coffee syrup, then place it back onto each cupcake. (There should be enough filling that some of it oozes up and attractively frames the cone) Top each cupcake with another small dollop of frosting. Garnish the tops with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. Crown every cupcake with a chocolate coffee bean or chip and you're all set!

It's best to let these hang out for at least an hour so that all the caffeinated goodness of the syrup can soak in.

Vanilla Cupcakes
1 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, oil, milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the batter is smooth and uniform (no more than 2 minutes). Add the egg and yolk, then continue beating an additional minute.

Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I like to use my large cookie scoop for this). Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cupcakes from the pan to a cooling rack within 5 minutes of removing from the oven. Let cool completely.

Coffee Soaking Syrup
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

Stir the coffee powder, water, and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in your alcohol of choice; set aside.

Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting
6 oz. (3/4 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp heavy cream, cold
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until smooth with a mixer on low. Add in the heavy cream and continue beating until incorporated. Sift the powdered sugar then add it slowly, starting with the lowest amount and adding more as required to reach your desired sweetness and consistency. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Beat 1-2 minutes. Set aside (in the fridge if you'd like the frosting to be firmer).