Kickoff Cupcakes

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 10 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes
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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon fine salt 

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

3/4 cup vegetable oil 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten 

1 tablespoon white vinegar 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 teaspoons instant coffee 


4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

8 cups confectioners' sugar 

About 2 teaspoons milk 

A few drops brown food coloring 

A few drops orange food coloring 

A few drops yellow food coloring 

A few drops green food coloring 

1 large tube white gel icing 


  1. Special equipment: an ice cream scoop and a small offset spatula
  2. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with silver foil liners.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, coffee and 1 cup water until well blended. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup halfway. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pans 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  5. For the frosting: Put the butter and confectioners' sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until well combined and smooth. Add a little milk, about 1/4 teaspoon at a time, and beat well after each addition until the frosting reaches a nice spreadable consistency.
  6. Divide the frosting among 4 bowls. Mix into each the green, brown, yellow or orange food coloring, drop by drop, until you achieve the colors desired.
  7. Decorate the Cupcakes: Using a small offset spatula, spread the brown and orange frosting over 12 of the cupcakes so that each top is half brown and half orange. Repeat with the 12 remaining cupcakes using the yellow and green frosting. Use the white gel icing to draw a line down the center of each cupcake top, dividing the colors. Then make 3 cross hatch marks across the white line on each to resemble football stitching.
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