For these cupcakes, I altered the recipe for Caramel Lightning Cake from The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Edition), by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker.
For truffle filling:
1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup flavored creamer (I used eggnog flavor, but any would be great) or half-and-half
10 large marshmallows
Begin melting chocolate chips in 30 second increments in microwave, stirring thoroughly after each interval. As chips begin to melt, stir in creamer and marshmallows and continue to heat. Stir carefully until blended. Set in refrigerator to cool.
Whisk together in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer)
1 ½ cups flour (we often use half whole wheat):
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Add in and continue to blend:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp coffee liqueur (optional)
Beat in and continue to blend until light and airy (about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down bowl halfway):
½ cup salted butter, softened
Fill cupcake cups ½- ¾ full (I use a large ice cream scoop). Carefully place a small scoop, approximately ½ tsp, of the ganache onto each cupcake, trying not to drop it to the bottom.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 16 minutes, watching carefully.
Allow to cool and frost with:
Espresso Mocha Buttercream
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp dark cocoa
1 tsp coffee liqueur (optional)
Beat until light and fluffy.