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Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

These cupcakes are moist and rich, with added protein, fiber and antioxidants from the black beans and dark chocolate. The frosting provides the perfect chocolate topping to this cake, with a small bite from the espresso. These cupcakes are gluten free. The cake recipe is inspired by one from contributor Margaret Tung.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
Eve Turow for NPR /

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

For Cake

15-ounce can unseasoned black beans

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

1 teaspoon instant espresso

3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

For Frosting

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon instant espresso

15 1/2-ounce bag of 60 percent cocoa chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place beans in a strainer and rinse well. Add to a blender or food processor along with the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.  If necessary, add a bit of water to thin out the batter if it gets stuck in the blender. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, instant espresso, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar and yogurt together, finally adding the bean puree. Once thoroughly mixed, fold in the dry ingredients.

Grease a cupcake pan or add cupcake holders and pour the batter in, about 4/5 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Place cakes on a rack and cool.

To prepare the frosting, pour milk into a saucepan over medium heat. When the milk begins to slightly bubble, add instant espresso, mixing constantly. Once dissolved, turn off flame and add chocolate chips, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Once the mixture has reached the desired consistency (you can make the frosting as dense as you like) take cupcakes and dip tops into the frosting, twisting. Once finished, top off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a chocolate-covered espresso bean. For Halloween, add one piece of candy corn.

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