Blog, Food, Inspiration, Recipes

Southern Makers Vol. 1

Over the last several days, we have had the pleasure of incorporating some ingredients made by southern hands into our own homemade recipes.  One, the Homestead Creamery, has set up camp in our fridge for years, while another was recently introduced to us by the one and only “southern made” ambassador, SUTHINGIRL.  We signed up for SUTHINGIRL’S seasonal boxes last year, and every three months, a lovely box arrives on our doorstep, dripping with southern style, taste, scents, reads and charm!  

Our Winter box had some extra special items brewing inside and we fell in love with Charleston’s own, King Bean Coffee.  Our drowsy taste buds became fast friends with King Bean’s Christmas blend, Peace and Joe.  And that’s where today’s story begins (and our love of King Bean will never end)!

After Peace and Joe dried up, we took to King Bean‘s website to restock on their jittery goodness.  That’s when Pandora’s box was really opened and we learned about Augusta, Georgia’s beloved chef, Vera Stewart.  Vera made a guest appearance on King Bean’s blog and amped up her dessert, Very Vera’s Choco-Latte Cake, with King Bean’s roast.  ADD TO CART was the only action to take!  We couldn’t hit checkout and download that recipe fast enough.

Now, Vera, we’re still working out the kinks and fine tuning our skills of layer cake making, so we put our own spin on your creation (we are sorry as we can be for not following your recipe to a T) by splitting this divine culinary genius of a recipe in half, and made cupcakes out of it.  And while we could certainly stand a lesson on artful frosting skills, the taste came out perfectly.  The halved recipe yielded a dozen and a half cupcakes and we shared them with two dear friends who had birthdays this week (happiest of birthdays to Mrs. B. and G) and our girls’ middle school teachers.  Even better, we passed these treats off as breakfast because, why not?  They do, after all, contain the best coffee in the Southland, KING BEAN!

Oh yeah!  Go check out Very Vera.  Like we said earlier, she’s a FORCE!  Vera, we hope to make it down to Augusta one of these days for one of your classes.  In the meantime, we’ll stay inspired from afar!

Made With Love and a Little Extra Jolt,

The SDBs

Very Vera's Choco-Latte Cupcakes

Servings 18
Author Vera Stewart


  • Cake Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar packed
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s ® cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brewed medium roast coffee
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Hershey® semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons medium roast instant coffee granules
  • 1 pounds confectioners’ sugar


Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour muffin tins lined with cupcake wrappers.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the sour cream and beat well.
  6. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. Combine the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix with a wire whisk.
  8. Combine the coffee and vanilla extract and mix well.
  9. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating until well blended.
  10. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl and incorporate any unmixed batter if necessary.
  11. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins (should make 18 regular size cupcakes).
  12. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Test doneness by touching a cake top. If it springs back, it is done. If the indentation stays, it needs 2 minutes longer.
  13. Cool the cakes for at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pans.

For the Frosting

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer for 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes, scrape the bowl extremely well.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second intervals until smooth.
  3. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla extract, and coffee granules to the butter and cream cheese with the mixer on low speed.
  4. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, beating on low to ensure the sugar does not fly out of the mixing bowl.
  5. After each addition of confectioners’ sugar, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl extremely well.
  6. Once all the confectioners’ sugar is incorporated, beat on low speed for 3 minutes.
  7. Spread icing on the cake layers and get ready to think you've died and gone to heaven at first bite!

Recipe Notes

We do not own a microwave anymore, so we melted the chocolate chips old school style on the stove.