1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup coconut or regular milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Earth Balance vegan buttery stick, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard and mini muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes.
While milk is cooling, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted – 6-8 minutes.
Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 15 minutes for mini cupcakes and 23 minutes for regular size cupcakes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.
Makes 10 regular size and 8 mini cupcakes
1/3 cup freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce (2 tbsp) brandy or Kahlua
2 tbsp sugar
Stir together coffee, brandy or Kahlua, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp confectioners sugar, sifted
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream and confectioners sugar until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). Add mascarpone and beat carefully until whipped cream and mascarpone are well mixed. Use immediately.
Adapted from call-me-cupcake.com