Chocolate cupcakes with espresso cream cheese frosting

February 9, 2020 Published by Dina

Chocolate cupcakes with espresso cream cheese topping

I am still on a roll with the online photography challenge. Today’s submission was a tribute to Frida Khalo and we were asked to include something autobiographical, something that would tell the viewers about the person behind the camera. There were beautiful entries as always and since Khalo was known to paint her own images, many took that challenge and photographed themselves. Me? not in a million years. I submitted an image (below) of chocolate cupcakes with red buttercream frosting. Here is why.

Tribute to Frida Khalo

My sense of Khalo is first of bold colours and flowers, then of her defining love affair with Diego Rivera. Did you know that she also had a romantic relations with Trotsky while he was exiled to Mexico? I find that interesting. That woman was ahead of her time.

Khalo said she was painfully lonely and that was why she took to painting herself. Considering that her life seemed full and she was seldom alone, I reflected on her sense of loneliness and it reminded me of a poem, “Solitude”, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train
but one by one we must all file on
through the narrow isles of pain

Since we were asked to reveal something about ourselves through the image I made it red and black, both colours that represent who I am….bold….mysterious….. and I added a piece of jewelry, red coral and pearl necklace that I had made in Mexico by an artist. I am sure Frida would have loved that piece.

So for this post I am sharing a recipe of chocolate cupcakes with a little simpler frosting, made with cream cheese, butter and espresso. It’s easy to make and nice to have around every now and then. I make it basically in one bowl, no mixer and it works fine.

Chocolate cupcakes with espresso cream cheese frosting

Recipe by Dina Honke


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 cup flour

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup yogurt

  • Espresso cream cheese topping
  • 1 package cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup soft butter

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2-3 tablespoons espresso

  • Candied hazelnuts
  • 1 cup hazelnuts

  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • Line aa 12 cup muffin pan with paper cupcake cups.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Place flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add oil and milk and stir to combine.
  • Add egg and yogurt and mix it in.
  • Pour the batter into the cupcake holders 2/3 full, there should be enough for 12.
  • Bake in 350F oven for about 30 minutes or until done.
  • Espresso Cream cheese frosting
  • Combine room temperature cream cheese and butter and mix together with a spatula until combined and lightened.
  • Add the sugar and mix until sugar dissolves. =Yoiu can do this with a hand mixer or by hand.
  • Add the espresso and mix to combine.
    Refrigerate until needed but bring back to room temperature before frosting.
  • Candies hazelnuts
  • Place hazelnuts and sugar in a small skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and coats the nuts.
  • Turn over onto a sheet of parchment and let cool.
  • Place in a small food processor and chop, not too fine.
  • When the cupcakes are frosted sprinkle a little candied hazelnuts over.

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