For the cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean pod, halved and seeds scraped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs + 3 egg yolks, at room temp
1 cup sugar
For the coffee-marsala syrup
3/8 cup espresso (or strongly brewed coffee)
1 oz sweet Marsala (or port)
1/4 cup sugar
For the frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
espresso beans, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325. Line two muffin pans with paper liners (18 total). Use nonstick spray or butter to grease the tops of the muffin pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl, add milk, butter, vanilla bean pod halves and seeds, and butter. Heat in 15 second intervals until butter is melted.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar on high speed. (The cookbook instructs you to whisk the eggs by hand over a simmering pot of water for 6 minutes, until warm. I overlooked that step and didn’t seem to have any problems with the finished product.) Whisk mixture until pale, fluffy and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when the whisk is lifted.
Remove vanilla pods from the bowl of milk and discard. Switch to the paddle attachment (if using an electric mixture, just fold in the ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula). With the mixer set on low, add flour mixture and slowly add the milk mixture, mixing until just combined. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean. Let sit in pan until just warm to the touch. Using a knife, poke 4-5 holes in each cupcake (you want to give the syrup a way to travel down the cupcake but you don’t want to tear up the cupcake).
To make the coffee-Marsala syrup: Mix coffee, sugar, and Marsala until the sugar has dissolved. Using a silicon pastry brush, brush the tops of the cupcakes, letting the first round soak in completely before making another pass. Repeat until all of the syrup has been used.
Make the mascarpone frosting: With the whisk attachment, whip the cream on high until stiff peaks just form. Add the mascarpone, powdered sugar, and vanilla and whisk on medium-high for 1-2 minutes. Frost cupcakes when they have completely cooled. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powdered and coffee beans.
Pairs Well With
Moist vanilla bean cupcakes brushed with a coffee-marsala syrup and topped with a mountain of rich mascarpone frosting.