Say – {Mocha Cupcakes}

All he had to do was laugh.

Wearing yesterday’s clothes, I woke up on my friend’s living room floor hopelessly tangled in an unzipped sleeping bag. It was early – around 6:30 – and I was groggy from overeating and staying up too late the night before. Across the room from me, J was sleeping on the futon, chuckling as I stretched and unwound the sleeping bag from my limbs.

“I was talking in my sleep, wasn’t I?”

He exhaled sharply with a laugh before delivering his response – “yep” – as the smile across his lips widened.

My sleep talking wasn’t something I was cognizant of until college, but I’m completely aware of the quirk now. Initially I didn’t believe it when my first roommate, S, told me that it was happening, but after a few weeks I had to accept it as truth. S, being a legitimate insomniac, gave me almost daily reports of the ridiculous and grievously articulate (though not necessarily coherent) things I would say in my sleep. She thought it was funny and told me that it didn’t bother her, so I, too, tried to laugh it off. However, after being told one morning that I had been literally screaming about a mutual friend being kidnapped while I was asleep, it started to bother me. A lot. Like, to the point that it makes me nervous to sleep in the same room as someone else.

Which was why waking up wrapped in that sleeping bag across the room from J was so uncomfortable for me. Feeling tangled and constrained in my conscious state made me fearful for how much the sensations had been amplified and potentially expressed in my sleep. Added grogginess and embarrassment made me wish I could slip back into unawareness and peace; never to hear the words that had spilled from my mouth in the night like drool on a pillow…

But I couldn’t.

He began the recount in the worst way: “yeah, you spoke really clearly.”

I was almost certain I’d made a fool of myself.

“It didn’t make a lot of sense, though,” he continued.

Incoherent, I thought with relief. I suppose that’s a good sign.

“You said ’68. It is.'”

I laughed.

Yes. It is 68. This, friends, is the kind of genius that resides in my uncensored self. Aren’t you jealous? Through my fear, embarrassment and supposed incoherency, I am discovering the secrets of the universe.

But not really.

I honestly have no idea what that could have possibly been a reference to. Occasionally I’m able to piece things together, but most of the time I have no idea what I’ve been talking about or why I’ve been talking about it.

So I just continue laughing.

…And also hoping I don’t wake someone screaming about a kidnapping in the middle of the night ever again.


Mocha Cupcakes via Browneyedbaker/My Baking Addiction/One Ordinary Day
The coffee flavor in these cupcakes comes primarily from the frosting, but you can taste it in the chocolate cake, too, which I hadn’t expected. These go fast!

Makes 1 dozen.

Printable Recipe

1/2 c (118 ml) strong brewed coffee, room temp
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1/2 c (118 ml) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 c (189 g) flour
1/3 c (30 g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c (118 g) butter, room temp
1/2 c (99 g) granulated sugar
1/2 c (71 g) brown sugar
1 egg, room temp

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners and set aside.

Mix the espresso powder/instant coffee granules into the brewed coffee. Add the milk and vanilla set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, scarping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, and mix slowly to combine. Scrape down the sides and add half of the coffee mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and continue alternating wet and dry, ending with dry. Mix just until combined.

Scoop batter into the prepared liners. Bake 17-20 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed. Cool on a rack in pans for 3 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and allow to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips!

1 1/2 c (300 g) sugar
7 egg whites
27 Tbsp (381 g) unsalted butter, room temp
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 Tbsp warm water

In a double boiler, cook the egg whites and sugar over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-low speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess during this process, but if you continue beating it for a few minutes it will become light and fluffy. While it’s beating, combine the water and instant coffee. Pour into whipped buttercream as you would an extract, and beat to combine.


  1. says

    These are beautiful! Random question, do your muffin tins have really straight sides? I love how they don't taper at all and was wondering if it was because of the cupcake liners or your tins.

  2. says

    My sister talks in her sleep too, but it's so incoherent no one can understand a word. Love the cupcakes, coffee and chocolate never fail together.

  3. says

    I talk in my sleep too! My roommate told me that once I rapped the lyrics to a Jay-Z song. <br />I&#39;m glad I&#39;m not the only one who noticed the straight sides of the cupcakes, what type of pan did you use?

  4. says

    I talk in my sleep too, as does my little brother. Apparently when we were little we would have conversations with each other when we fell asleep in the car.

  5. says

    me too! i talk in my sleep all the time, especially when im stressed. so you&#39;re not alone! there should really be a documentary movie done on sleeptalking, or is there?<br />anyways, those cupcakes look fabulous! (:

  6. Anonymous says

    Dont worry I sleep talk too, Though mines a bit more of a sleep yell. On multipule occasions I&#39;ve had someone run in and wake me up asking what&#39;s wrong. Another great post.

  7. says

    Thanks for all the kind comments, guys! I really appreciate it!<br /><br />Erica, I wish I knew how it happened! I have always liked the straight-up-and-down look, but I&#39;ve never been able to figure out how to get it consistently. Anyway, when I pulled these out of the pan and they had it, I was surprised and happy! I didn&#39;t do anything different at all – I just use Wilton pans (I

  8. says

    I have been told that I talk in my sleep when I am very, very tired. Thankfully, I haven&#39;t divulged anything damaging… yet! :) Makes me nervous though…<br /><br />:) And everything you make is so gorgeous! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!

  9. Anonymous says

    Your cupcakes look so delicious! I just have to ask, which tip did you use to do the frosting and how did you do it? I am new to decorating and I love your presentation. Simple but beautiful.

  10. says

    I am a total sleep talker, and even worse, in the first few minutes after I wake, I still believe my dream is true, so I&#39;ll comment on it to John as if he&#39;d know what I was talking about. It takes me a good five minutes every morning to sort myself out…<br /><br />Your chocolate curls are so perfect! Do you bother to temper? Either way, they look fab!

  11. says

    my best friend talking in her sleep too!<br />and yes, it&#39;s always something incoherent, and his father do the same thing… <br />i guess it&#39;s in her blood. so, you&#39;r not alone :D<br /><br />love ur recipe btw… <br />specially love ur beautiful blog! <br />XoXo

  12. says

    i have never experienced sleep walking! your note is so ligtht and funny :)<br /><br />AND I am loving these cupcakes. Planning to make some soon. :)

  13. says

    At least you don&#39;t snore…like my husband does! I catch my daughter sleep talking sometimes too. Seems like she&#39;s re-enacting some exciting event usually. Love how yummy those cupcakes look! The SMB swirl looks to-die for!

  14. says

    II wasn&#39;t sure I wanted to make these, I usually look for dark brown cakes like the chocolate cake with coconut icing you made but the ingredients were so tempting if I may say.<br />So I made these today, and Oh My Gosh! I haven&#39;t tasted something so good I made in a long long time! My cupcakes would turn out too dry or too chewy, I just never got them right I even turn to box mix cakes

  15. says

    Thanks so much, everyone!<br /><br />Anonymous, unfortunately, I am not sure about which size tip I used :( I moved recently and left it at my Mom&#39;s house. It&#39;s just a big round tip, though. I got it at a bakery supply store. <br /><br />Stella, I have been there before :) I&#39;ll even start talking about something that happened in a dream in the middle of the day sometimes… Just

  16. says

    I think I&#39;m going to try to make these tomorrow. As for the butter cream icing, I&#39;ll give it a shot, but I&#39;m not so good with egg whites. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  17. says

    Beautiful cupcakes! On my list to make. And love your blog -<br />*** Your &quot;Printable Recipe&quot; link doesn&#39;t seem to create a PDF, etc??? Thanks!

  18. Anonymous says

    oh my freakin god. by far these are up there in the most delish cupcakes i&#39;ve ever made AND tasted. I did about a third of the meringue recipe and i had plenty to frost my dozen cupcakes. these are the best chocolate cupcakes like no joke. They always seem to turn out dry for me but these were perfectly moist. this was my first time making SMB and i went through all the bad stages but it

  19. says

    I talk in my sleep too! It became a lot more apparent when I went to college. My first roommate told me one time I started cursing in my sleep, and she thought I was awake (because I curse so much when I&#39;m awake, haha!)

  20. Anonymous says

    THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL! I had a disaster today with red velvet cupcakes and decided to try these to cure my depression. PERFECT! Easy recipe &amp; the cupcakes are sooo lovely and moist!

  21. says

    This recipe looks delicious! I&#39;m thinking of making them for my sisters Hen Party, but I was just wondering if these are freezable? I&#39;m not sure I&#39;ll have time to make them with the extravaganza that my sisters planned. x

    • says

      Thanks! I don&#39;t have a lot of experience freezing cupcakes, but I imagine that if you wrap them all individually and then bag them they shouldn&#39;t dry out.

  22. says

    Hi Kaitlin,<br />Just love your blogs, came across your rainbow cake, will be baking for a friend&#39;s daughter tomorrow. Hope all works out..<br /><br />In this recipe you said strong brewed coffee. What would be the about of coffee granules to use? Am not a coffee drinker but I just love the coffee aroma. <br /><br />Please advise, would love to try your creation.<br /><br />Happy baking.<br /

    • says

      Hey! I&#39;m not sure I understand what you&#39;re asking, but I wouldn&#39;t use coffee grounds in the cake. They&#39;ll be grainy. Is that what you meant?

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