“Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin!”
Woke up groggy one morning. Had been up till 1.30am battling blogger issues. Then the son decided to wake me up at 4.30am with a painful foot. They’re ‘growing pains’ the doctor once said; the lad has P L E N T Y. ‘Why me, why today’, was the only thought I had! For some insane reason, I was wide awake thereafter. Had to find something therapeutic to do. Hadn’t made them a snack for school the day before because I had been dog tired. A thought ran through my head – ‘I’m going to bake some muffins’ … the first time I’ve actually baked at 5.30am! Reached out for my recipe folder on the counter & opened the most in demand comfort bake – Cappuccino Muffins. I love making these. They are simple, get put together real quick, and above all, connect me to Nic @ Cherrapeno where I found the recipe.
Nic and me get on famously, and our email exchanges are sometimes quite hysterical & funny. Makes me a happy baker carrying out a virtual conversation with her! We do also catch up on twitter sometimes, though not as often as we’d like to. Nic and I have plenty of giggles that keep us in splits! I just love ‘food with a connect’ – a memory, a conversation, a giggle attached to it, something like the macarons we made in a mac attack on twitter not so long ago.

They are lovely muffins & pack a punch in each bite. Soft and delicious, with a deep coffee taste. I think using buttermilk instead of milk makes them a tad lighter. Maybe it’s just a figment of my imagination, but well…I find them to be just perfect comfort food. Grab a warm muffin, curl up with a cup of coffee, a good cookbook…bliss!

Cappuccino Buttermilk Muffins
adapted from Nic @ Cherrapeno
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsps instant coffee
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix coffee into melted butter. Whisk well.
Whisk eggs lightly into the buttermilk with the vanilla extract.
In a big bowl mix well the following – both flours, vanilla sugar, baking powder & salt.
Now pour in the buttermilk mixture & the butter mixture, and mix in gently by hand till moist. DO NOT over mix or muffins won’t be nice & soft. Fold in chocolate chips lightly & do not over mix.
Fill up the prepared muffin tins 2/3 full, sprinkle a few coffee beans if you like. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 20-22 minutes.
Cool on rack.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

This is my entry for the 2nd Annual O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. ‘CAPPUCCINO BUTTERMILK MUFFINS’. Do head across to Michelle’s at Bleeding Espresso and be part of tradition in honor of award-winning pastry chef Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen; Gina has been fighting ovarian cancer for the past year and a half, and in addition to physically battling the disease, she has also started the Cowgirl Cure Foundation to raise awareness and money for research as well.


O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and for the second year in a row, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are hosting the O Foods Contest to raise awareness of this important health issue.

There are TWO WAYS to take part in the O Foods Contest:

ONE: Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato); include this entire text box in the post; and send your post url along with a photo (100 x 100) to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.

PRIZES for recipe posts:

1st: Signed copy of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma, Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who is currently battling ovarian cancer, inspired this event, and will be choosing her favorite recipe for this prize;
2nd: Signed copy of Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home by Mario Batali (winner chosen by Sara);
3rd: Signed copy of Vino Italiano: The Regional Italian Wines of Italy by Joseph Bastianich (winner chosen by Michelle).
TWO: If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word and send your post url to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.

Awareness posts PRIZE:

One winner chosen at random will receive a Teal Toes tote bag filled with ovarian cancer awareness goodies that you can spread around amongst your friends and family.
From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose, but include bloating, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).
There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
In spite of this, patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.
And remember, you can also always donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at our page through FirstGiving!

Please help spread the word about ovarian cancer.
Together we can make enough noise to kill this silent killer.

“Life is just a bowl of cherries.”
There’s so much to do as always, & so little time. With the kids still at home on vacation, the day gallops by so fast. Still, I can’t figure out why it’s taken me so long to post these muffins. They’re on my file for quick reference, one of the quickest & best chocolate fixes I have on record. Found them on this blog – Cooking During Stolen Moments as I browsed the net for recipes for ‘muffins using dried cherries’. I amended the recipe a teeny bit to make them a twitch healthier, with some whole wheat flour substitution.
What do I love about them? E V E R Y T H I N G !! To begin with, they’re chocolate & a great fix for sweet cravings. The recipe uses cocoa which is more easily available in India vis a vis baking chocolate. Secondly, they use oil instead of buttah! I’m actively trying to substitute butter with oil as often as possible. Nothing but a personal attempt to try incorporate healthier food choices into our ‘ daily bread’, so as to say! Further, you don’t need a beater to get the batter together. A simple whisk is good enough. What’s more, no sifting! Here’s a recipe that falls together in 5-7 minutes flat, and also allows for easy substitution. No cherries = no problem. Use chocolate chips &/or walnuts instead. I love it! The muffins taste great the day they’re baked because the tops are crisp & crusty in a moreish way … almost endearing! They maintain a wonderful taste, sans crisp top, thereafter, and keep moist & delicious stored in the fridge, thanks to the oil!
They remind me of the Cappuccino Muffins I make when I have coffee cravings, which is quite often! That recipe belongs to Nic’s @ Cherrapeno, and is a firm favourite for it’s ease & wonderful flavour, and is in my ‘quick to make’ recipe file. The kids love cappuccino muffins. A close contender, jostling for space right on top has been this bundt cake from the Food LibrarianCinnamon Chocolate Bundt Cake is another huge favourite at home these days. Now, we have another fighter in the ring, & more competition is always healthy! The Chocolate Cherry Muffins have marked their permanent abode in this file, & are a lot of fun. I’ve made them thrice already, & sometimes place fresh cherries on top prior to baking. A sprinkling of vanilla sugar adds to flavour!

as adapted minimally from Cooking During Stolen Moments
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. wholewheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 T. cocoa powder
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cherries
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, including the chocolate chips and dried cherries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until completely moistened and combined.
Pour about 1/3 – 1/2 c. batter into greased or lined muffin tin. Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are done.

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“Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis – a good hot cup of coffee.”
Alexander King
Grab a cuppa coffee & make these delicious muffins. If you know me by now, coffee rules my life. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, & is my biggest stress buster! Don’t know if it’s good or bad, but the kids now enjoy the flavour of coffee in baked goods, & it isn’t rare to see the boy chomping the occasional coffee bean with great gusto. That I cannot do, but he can!
“Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz:”
I wanted to make muffins but I wanted something radically simple, something I hadn’t done before. After umpteen stops here & there, I sneaked into Nics @ Cherrapeno in the UK. I often check out her blog before going a step further. She has GREAT ideas, & gorgeous pictures – enough to give me an instant dose of inspiration. Also, she has 2 lads & is always making yum stuff to keep them happy. So I stumbled on her post of Cappuccino Muffins. YESexactly what I wanted to make, & these were so E A S Y! She included an interesting anecdote about how she knocked over the lava lamp she had gifted her lad on his birthday, & made these muffins to placate him. He he, I was chuffed that I got away without breaking the lava lamp my daughter has been wanting for the last 2 years…I never bought it in the first place, & then eventually the daughter forgot. Mighty pleased with myself I hurried & took notes of the recipe, put it all together, spooned the batter into cases, & opened the oven door to shove in the tray. That’s when it hit me! There was no raising agent in my poor muffins. Obviously everyone & everything needs a little help to rise (no pun intended, LOL) & so did these!!! Too late I thought & shoved them in, in desperate hope that they would rise against all odds, & they obviously didn’t! Left them on the counter, as FLAT as they were. My good children came back from school & had a nibble voluntarily. They said they were alright, a bit bready, but tasted nice anyway, & had seconds too. I hung around suspiciously, but they chomped the bread-like creations down & went on to glug their glasses of milk etc! HUH? How nice the kids were! Not to be deterred by my stupidity or daunted by the experience, I went back to check the recipe & found that I had misread SF flour as AP. #$&*#$&*!!! With most of them muffins gone by the next morning, I made another batch, & this time frosted a few for my loyal tasters! Yes, now these rose, proving that baking powder does indeed play a role in the life we’ve been raised into!! LOL!

Recipe from Nic @ Cherrapeno
Makes approx 11-12 medium sized muffins
2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup vanilla caster sugar (or plain caster sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 small bag chocolate chips (100g)

Preheat the oven onto 375º F / 180ºC.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and leave to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.
Crack the egg into a medium sized bowl and add the milk and coffee granules and stir until the coffee is dissolved. Pour this coffee mixture onto the flour/sugar and add the melted butter.
Stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill the muffin cases with the mixture, do not over-fill, you want the cases to be about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before putting the muffins onto a wire rack to cool.

Cappuccino Curd Cheese Cream Topping
(This is my recipe. Nic has a luxurious mascarpone Cappuccino Topping on hers)
1/2 cup curd cheese (made from hanging yogurt for 24 hours)
1/4 cup low fat cream
3-4 tablespoon vanilla caster sugar (or plain caster sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
½ teaspoon instant coffee powder
¼ cup chocolate chips (I forgot all about these :0( )
In a medium bowl, whip all the ingredients except chocolate chips until smooth.
Add chocolate chips and spread onto muffins.

Enjoy with a cuppa coffee. As Nic said, these taste very good warm! Thanks a TON for a keeper of a recipe!!

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