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Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting

Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes

Dear Breakfast,

I have tried. Really I have. I just can’t seem to get you. Or you aren’t that captivating enough to me. Not after that many years trying. I am willing to sacrifice more time getting to get you though. Really, I am. Even the little time I have left these days in the morning is not without a thought or two for you. Unfortunately it’s been the extent of our relationship lately. "The thought of you". Well, until I made these Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes. Now it’s all about "the very thought of them".

You and I are comfortable with each other. We’re not bored and we’re not indifferent but we just can’t seem to get wild and crazy about each other either. Let’s recap a little here. We tried early on to build a solid foundation with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. Until I got burned out on the toast with butter and jam, dunked in my coffee because I wanted that just about 10 more times before heading out the door.

Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes

So we decided to make it bit more structured and add an egg and piece of bacon to that toast. Oh. Beautiful mornings ensued. Definitely. Until I got lazy in our relationship and refused to do this much clean up before work. You would not compromise and a full break-up followed. Months without a nibble. Until a roomate made a piping hot bowl of oatmeal topped with a splash of honey and a handful of roasted hazelnuts.

I wanted to marry you then. We did have a long engagement. It became clear though that I do have a "coeur d’artichaut", even for you. It just was not enough. So we made pancakes with oatmeal and honey and nuts. Then waffles. And crepes. More pancakes. Eventually I started forgetting the toasted nuts. The honey too. Then one day I woke up and hit the snooze button and gave you the silent treatment. Sorry.

Last Four

I went back to the eggs. Soft boiled. Poached. Sunny side up. You name it. I had it. It was almost indecent. Then I had a smoothie period. A green juice period. A funky smoked fish and German bread period. A bowl of fruit, sprinkle of flax seed period. Virtuous is not me. That also went out the window. I cheat with mid-morning snack. A tomato with sea salt. A handful of nuts, etc… You see?

It’s not you. It’s me. I’m not just fickle. I am a gourmande. Of life. Of food. Of emotions. If I didn’t have to watch for certain health issues, I’d have croissant, pains au chocolat, chaussons aux pommes and other French delicacies every day for breakfast. And I would not get bored. All that butter. But if I did, I’d rapidly wear them on my derriere. So the Frenchies and I have a Sunday rendez-vous instead.

Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes

I was about ready to give up on the whole thing and remain a breakfast spinster until Dan Lepard posted these Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes. The coffee makes them incredibly versatile while the tamarind provides the perfect hint to wake up your tastebuds. In the morning I have one without frosting on my way up to the studio and in the afternoon a dollop of cream cheese-chocolate frosting is just a reminder that a sweet pause and a cup of tea is just what the doctor ordered during a long day on the job.

I used a mix of superfine sweet rice flour (info previously here and here), cornstarch as we don’t like tapioca flour but you can substitute either or according to your preference and millet flour. I did half butter and half coconut oil and used raw honey which intensifies the coffee in the cupcakes and brings out the chocolate when frosted.

Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes

Even B. agrees that this kind of love affair is also to his benefit. Indeed, I can’t possibly eat all 12 cupcakes in one sitting so I must share with him. We might finally find our groove you and I, dear Breakfast.

Yours truly,

Tamarind Coffee Cupcakes With Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from Dan Lepard.

Makes 12

For the cupcakes:

55g unsalted butter, at room temperature
55gr extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup (110gr)honey or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1/4 cup tamarind paste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100 gr) superfine sweet rice flour
1/4 cup (50 gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (50 gr) cornstarch (or use tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

For the frosting:
1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (170gr) semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

Prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place 12 muffin liners inside a muffin pan and lightly brush with melted butter (or cooking spray).
In an electric mixer, whip the butter, coconut oil and honey until fluffy at medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the tamarind and coffee. Still on low, add the eggs, one at time and scraping the bowl after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and slowly fold this in with the butter – tamarind mixture until the mixture is smooth. Divide evenly among the muffin liners and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting or enjoy warm without.

Prepare the frosting:
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and semisweet chocolate until smooth. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe on top of each cupcake.


Petits gateaux au tamarin et glacage au cream cheese chocolat:

Pour 12 petits gateaux

55 gr beurre, non sale, a temperature ambiante
55 gr d’huile de noix de coco, a temperature ambiante
110 gr de miel
1 cs de cafe moulu
70 gr de pulpe de tamarin
2 oeufs
100gr de farine de riz
50 gr de maizena
50 gr de farine de millet
1 cc de bicarbonate de soude
une pincee de sel

Pour le glacage:
210 gr de fromage frais, type Philadelphia, a temperature ambiante
170 gr chocolat (pas trop corse), fondu et legerement refroidi

Prechauffer le four a 175C. Aligner 12 caissettes a muffins dans une plaque a muffin et beurrer legerement l’interieur (pinceau et beurre fondu).
Dans un grand bol, mixer le beurre, l’huile de noix de coco et le miel jusqu’a ce que le melange soit leger, 2 a 3 minutes. Ajouter le cafe et le tamarin et ensuite les oeufs a un a jusqu’a obtention d’une pate homogene. Ajouter les farines, la maizena, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel et battre jusqu’a ce que le melange soit lisse.
Repartir dans les caisettes et faire cuire 20 a 25 minutes.

Pour le glacage:
Battre dans un grand bol le cream cheese et chocolate fondu jusqu’a obtenir un melange homogene. Le mettre dans un poche a douille et en glacer les petits gateaux une fois que ces derniers sont refroidis.

This post is syndicated on BlogHer. Click here.

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Jessica @ How Sweet May 4, 2010 um 2:54 pm

I probably COULD eat all 12 cupcakes in one sitting. They look that delicious.

shaz May 4, 2010 um 2:58 pm

You had me giggling all through the post because I am a breakfast skipper too! I feel terribly wracked with guilt becasue I make the kids eat brekafast but I only slyly pretend to eat (like an affair?).

These fabulous cupcakes would help me get back into the habit though πŸ™‚

momgateway May 4, 2010 um 3:04 pm

I use tamarind in my cooking so..I can imagine it must be amazing with chocolate in this cupcakes!!

Unknown May 4, 2010 um 3:04 pm

I adore the concept of tamarind and coffee. My taste buds are positively leaping off of my tongue!

Dinners and Dreams May 4, 2010 um 3:24 pm

I have never used tamarind as it never really appealed to me, but with the honey and chocolate frosting it probably is very good. These gorgeous cupcakes certainly look like they're worth trying.

Jen May 4, 2010 um 3:32 pm

lovely. i'll even forgive the fact that you're not a breakfast person [one of my 3 favorite meals of the day…] because i can almost taste it through the screen!

Jeanee May 4, 2010 um 3:35 pm


m May 4, 2010 um 3:47 pm

I love breakfast! I am sad your love affair with breakfast has been so rocky, but I understand–life always gets in the way.

How come you don't like tapioca flour? And when I saw this post I wondered if there would be coffee in the cupcakes, because there's no coffee in coffeecake! Except if you frequent Asian bakeries, where they love coffee flavored everything.

Helene May 4, 2010 um 3:54 pm

m: I'm not sure I understand your comment but it's like asking why some prefer coffee and some prefer tea. It's a question of taste. We don't like the taste.

Kari May 4, 2010 um 4:04 pm

Coffee, chocolate and tamarind!!…mmh interesting.
In Mexico we are very used to tamarind in sweets and drinks but that combination is totally unexpected for me.
I should give it a try, I just can't imagine the flavor.

ME May 4, 2010 um 4:19 pm

Cupcakes are my weakness, and after seeing these I am going to have to make some this evening! As far as cream cheese icing… I wouldn't have any other type of icing.

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Nat May 4, 2010 um 4:29 pm

The cupcakes look delicious ! Never heard of the tamarind before…
I will try the French (easier for me when I'm cooking lol) recipe & taste the mix of the flavours…
Miam miam !

Tia May 4, 2010 um 4:41 pm

i'm so excited to find another use for tamarind … other than in pad thai like i usually use it for.

pigpigscorner May 4, 2010 um 4:52 pm

wow tamarind? very interesting!

maybelle's mom May 4, 2010 um 5:23 pm

i saw these on flickr or somewhere before your post come up and I was already in love. they make me crave chai.

Jenn Sutherland May 4, 2010 um 5:51 pm

Wow – tamarind, coffee and chocolate cream cheese icing…Yeah, I think I could fall in love with that kind of breakfast too. Will definitely have to try these out soon!

Weekend Cowgirl May 4, 2010 um 5:51 pm

These look fantastic and I hope to try them this weekend!I would like to try some with plain vanilla creme cheese icing also! I love cupcakes and probably could eat the entire batch in one sitting (with milk).

Unknown May 4, 2010 um 5:53 pm

Adorable – such a lovely post to read! And they look delicious!

Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico May 4, 2010 um 6:25 pm

How interesting and different. Here in Mexico, I can get all the ingredients, except millet flour. Maybe amaranth flour would substitute.
Thanks for beautiful pics and unique recipe.

The Iconic May 4, 2010 um 6:25 pm

Any morning that involves a cupcake is a success.x

Punctuation Mark May 4, 2010 um 6:28 pm

i love tamarind and it's not that easy to find in Miami…

Helene May 4, 2010 um 6:32 pm

Punctuation Mark: i have a difficult time here too in SC, that's why I love

Kathleen: yes it would work. Any other gf flour of your liking.

Asha @ FSK May 4, 2010 um 6:32 pm

intersting combination of flavors. Tamarind is a distinctively Asian flavor. curious about the pairing with coffee; think I'll just have to make it and taste for myself!! :))

Maria May 4, 2010 um 7:16 pm

Fabulous cupcake creation!

Elizabeth May 4, 2010 um 7:30 pm

I don't think Dan meant these for breakfast πŸ™‚ but why not?
I've certainly had pie for breakfast a number of times – fruit-filled pie so it's practically virtuous!

Joy May 4, 2010 um 9:04 pm

My mom would love this recipe. Tamarind is one of her favorite fruits. I love how you used the rice flour.

The Frugal Hostess May 4, 2010 um 9:06 pm

I loved this post! I feel exactly the same about breakfast, and now I am hungry as well.

Anonymous May 4, 2010 um 11:18 pm

I must say I was intrigued when I heard about the tamarind and coffee combo! And tempted to try it!

Nantucket Mermaid May 5, 2010 um 12:18 am

I'm eating these for breakfast. Period.

Anonymous May 5, 2010 um 2:20 am

Chocolate, coffee, tamarind, I like the combination.
Thank you very much!!

Ann May 5, 2010 um 4:54 am

I can't even wrap my brain around the flavor combination. Guess I'll have to dig around for that tamarind paste I have tucked away and find out! Thanks!

And now you've also got me wondering about tapioca. I'm very sensitive to amaranth (YUCK) but I don't seem to taste tapioca in my baking. I'll have to do a comparison with cornstarch in the same baked good and see if I'm just not paying attention.

Katie May 5, 2010 um 6:08 am

I liked hearing about your different breakfast phases. These cupcakes look delicious and I would never have thought of putting tamarind and coffee together.

Helen May 5, 2010 um 7:34 am

These look delicious! I don't think I could eat them for breakfast though, too sweet for that time of day!

Just My Delicious May 5, 2010 um 8:06 am

awesome recipe for muffins!

Zizi May 5, 2010 um 8:29 am

Gorgeous photos as always!!! Fell in love with your pictures all the time! πŸ™‚ Great recipe also! I'll bake it!

Simones Kitchen May 5, 2010 um 10:03 am

That was such a funny post Helen, loved it and these tamarind delights look even better.

Juls @ Juls'Kitchen May 5, 2010 um 12:05 pm

Yummy! Loved your love letter to breakfast, so fun!
You made me want to bake those cupcakes right now, unfortunately I'm stuck in the office!

Helene May 5, 2010 um 1:18 pm

Elizabeth: maybe not but why not? Rules and expectations don't go with the pleasure of eating something good πŸ™‚

Helen: actually without frosting they are not that sweet to start with and there is no added sugar in the frosting.

Thanks everyone!

DessertForTwo May 5, 2010 um 2:51 pm

Yum! Thanks for sharing!

Claire May 5, 2010 um 7:05 pm

you repeat the thoughts of my life "to breakfast" and re: Frenchies.

thank you!

Reya May 5, 2010 um 7:24 pm

That looks too good! And the frosting is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen! *salivates*

melissa May 5, 2010 um 7:28 pm

you have me craving for a cupcake! beautiful photos!

Nithya May 5, 2010 um 8:28 pm

Ooh! I was giggling all through your post. What a delicious way to write them up πŸ™‚

Tickled Red May 5, 2010 um 11:22 pm

These are wonderful no matter when you eat them. You have satisfy all of my vices in one decadent little cupcake πŸ™‚

Anonymous May 6, 2010 um 12:50 am

Great post! Very witty, I was laughing through the whole thing. I too share your rocky relationship with Breakfast. We are actually separated right now. lol
I like the flavor mix of choc and tamarind. Clever.

Katie May 6, 2010 um 12:50 am

Wow, those look delicious! I especially love the icing piping – so elegant and professional-looking, I can never get mine looking so good!

Tara Barker May 6, 2010 um 2:54 am

These look delicious! While I don't share your ambivalence about breakfast (it's actually my favorite time of day, not the least due to all the coffee involved), I love to mix things up a bit, as my family tends to get in a bacon & eggs rut now and again. These should do the trick nicely!

Millet flour is all the rage these days in gf baking, isn't it?

Helene May 6, 2010 um 5:06 am

Tara: breakfast time is my favorite time of the day – I can't do without coffee!

I am going to venture out and say that millet flour is such the "rage" in gf baking because it is still among the most affordable ones. GF flours can be rather expensive but millet seems to be readily available, harvested and milled without bumping the price so when one does a lot of baking (as I do) it surely becomes one of the most affordable options.
As far as taste it is also one of the easiest to use for a variety of people unlike sorghum or amaranth which people dub bitter. Tapioca has also a distinct flavor while millet is one of those mild tasting ones (like rice) which makes it very versatile in baking.

Susan May 6, 2010 um 12:19 pm

Everything you make is so pretty! I just bought some tamarind so guess what I am making this weekend?

March 17th May 6, 2010 um 1:09 pm

Hi Tartelette – what a wonderful find for me – I am a lifelong breakfast avoider – I know it is bad for me and I am super vigilant about making my children a good breakfast every morning.

As much as I love my food I am no fan of sweet things – however I am going to give these a go this Saturday they sound too good to resist and I am positive my family will be over the moon ! Thankyou x

Patricia Scarpin May 6, 2010 um 1:50 pm

I have never tried anything with tamarind, Helen, but by the look of these I know I would like it very, very much. πŸ™‚

Yasmin Lawsuit May 6, 2010 um 2:43 pm

Thanks for the new idea with tamarind. It's a very versatile spice and flavoring. Nice to know of a new recipe. Thanks a lot.

Carolyn Jung May 6, 2010 um 3:53 pm

Tamarind and chocolate! Wow, who would have thought those two would pair so well together. But I can see how the tangy fruitiness definitely would be a compliment. Lovely photos as always.

Liz May 6, 2010 um 4:59 pm

Those sound like exactly what I need to make breakfast a part of my life. I'm glad there's another food-obsessed being out there who just can't seem to get on board the breakfast train…

Though lately, espresso-chip muffins from a local deli have really been making their way to my derriere.

Fresh Local and Best May 6, 2010 um 5:24 pm

I am an avoider of breakfast too. It's something I have to make much more time for. The ingredients for these cupcakes are intriguing. Pictures are stunning!

The Short (dis)Order Cook May 6, 2010 um 8:48 pm

I eat breakfast faithfully daily like a good girl, but I don't love breakfast. Some people think eating breakfast food at every meal is the greatest thing ever. I just say, "meh". I'm glad I'm not hte only one who feels that way.

I'd give cupcakes a go though. I am so used to tamarind in savory Indian dishes. Even though it's sweet, I never think of it in sweet foods. I am definitely intrigued.

Cynthia May 6, 2010 um 8:57 pm

Your opening salvo makes me think of the column on breakfast that I have been thinking about and working on bit by bit for the past few weeks. I feel the same way you do about this meal.

Tamarind coffee cupcakes sound exciting. Ummmm.

Stella May 6, 2010 um 9:23 pm

Your photos are out of control awesome! These look wonderful-I want one now.
By the way, I love that your family called you 'Tartelette'-that's so sweet. My family called me noo noos, which supposedly means 'teddy bear' in French.

zested May 7, 2010 um 2:47 am

I've never actually seen tamarind in baked goods before. Really intrigued by this recipe, thanks.

Pei-Lin May 7, 2010 um 12:37 pm

Helene, thanks a lot for the recipe … Here, we use tamarind a lot … But never try it in desserts … Have never even thought of pairing it with coffee!! I'll definitely give these cupcakes a try soon! Thank you!

Oh, I LOVE, LOVE breakfast! Can't get through the day without it! In fact, it's my heaviest meal of the day. Oftentimes, I just can't understand how some people can get away with breakfast …

Unknown May 7, 2010 um 4:53 pm

I LOVE the writing on this one. I've gone through the exact same feelings!

Unknown May 7, 2010 um 4:53 pm

I LOVE the writing on this one. I've gone through the exact same feelings!

Sara May 7, 2010 um 11:38 pm

so funny πŸ™‚ I love breakfast, but I can understand how some don't. I'm am definitely in favor of having sweet specialties some days though, and a cupcake is a perfect breakfast item πŸ™‚ Great writing my dear.

Sara May 7, 2010 um 11:38 pm

so funny πŸ™‚ I love breakfast, but I can understand how some don't. I'm am definitely in favor of having sweet specialties some days though, and a cupcake is a perfect breakfast item πŸ™‚ Great writing my dear.

Alanna May 10, 2010 um 3:01 am

Those sound crazy amazing, even to a devout breakfast lover. Thanks for another gorgeous post!

Joanne May 13, 2010 um 3:38 am

This post had me IN TEARS I was laughing so hard! I love a good breakfast. But I could have these for lunch and dinner and everything in-between!

Two fit and fun gals May 19, 2010 um 5:51 am

oh what an intersting sounding combination :O) ive only ever had tamarind in soup..!

Frances June 7, 2010 um 4:49 pm

oh i'd so love to try these. but how does one make the conversion to non gluten-free? thank you:)

Helene June 7, 2010 um 5:06 pm

Frances: just click on the link to the original recipe by Dan Lepard.

Yue Jiang September 6, 2010 um 1:54 am

I love your photographs so much!!

Becky July 12, 2012 um 1:34 pm

Can you describe the flavor of tamarind? I'm not familiar with it. Also can all purpose flour be substituted for the rice flour and millet? Thanks!

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