2ozdark chocolate finely chopped or mini chocolate chips .if desired
Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or lightly grease and flour).
In large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Stir in canola oil and milk, stirring until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Measure out your hot water (carefully!) and stir the instant coffee into the hot water.
Add the water to the batter and stir until the mixture is evenly combined (it will be a thin batter. When you first add the water/coffee to the batter will separate a bit, so stir until it is even in texture and smooth. Be careful with the hot water as it may splatter as it is stirred, and it will be hot).
Fold in finely chopped chocolate pieces.
Fill prepared muffin tin cavities just over ⅔ of the way full. Occasionally scrape the bottom of the bowl and stir to evenly-redistribute any chocolate pieces that may have settled on the bottom of the bowl.
Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes (use the toothpick test to check).
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Stir together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Set aside.
In a clean, dry, separate bowl, combine your heavy cream and the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on high-speed just until stiff peaks form (stiff peaks exist when you can dip a knife or spatula into the mixture and the peaks that form when you remove the utensil hold their shape without the point of the peak significantly folding or receding back into the mixture -- a small amount of folding or receding is OK, don't overbeat the cream!)
Fold your cream cheese mixture into the whipping cream mixture. With the mixer on low-speed, stir until well-combined (again, try not to over-whisk).
Pipe frosting generously onto cooled cupcakes.
Drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with chopped chocolate or mini chips, if desired.
Serve and enjoy!
* Chop the chocolate into teeny tiny pieces--smaller than mini chocolate chips. I used a large knife and "minced" the chocolate as if I were mincing garlic. If you do not make the chocolate small enough, it will sink to the bottom of the cupcakes, you want it to be dispersed throughout the cupcake (though, trust me, a few pieces on the bottom isn't anything to cry over). The heat from the added coffee will also help shrink the pieces a bit. **This recipe makes enough batter for just over 24 cupcakes. You could either discard the excess batter (blasphemy!) or wait for your pans to cool and bake the extras. In my case, I used the leftover batter to make a few mini cupcakes.