Coffee Cupcakes with Espresso-Infused Buttercream

I’ve never been a really big coffee drinker. I certainly don’t tolerate plain espresso shots, and call me lame, but I still like my coffee with cream and sugar. I only drink them occasionally when I’m pulling an all-nighter or just whenever Starbucks is throwing a membership discount and I feel like sipping a light caramel macchiato or whatever they were advertising in my email subscription list.


But there was always something about the smell of coffee that just wakes me up without even taking a sip. One of the reasons I love making these cupcakes (besides the fact that they are irresistibly delicious)  is because it leaves my whole kitchen smelling like a coffee shop even hours after we were done.


If your coffee preference is anywhere near mine (Not the really strong kind and just with a hint of sweetness), then I’m pretty sure you will be obsessed with these cupcakes because they came out exactly like my perfect cup of coffee, with a subtle chocolate flavor, and the right amount of espresso-infused buttercream on top. This is a really great recipe to experiment with different types of coffee (I am currently using Excelso’s premium roast ground Java Arabica), but I do recommend using the darker roasts or any kind with the stronger flavor to really bring out that coffee taste. It’s been a new favorite in my workplace and I want you to be able to make them too. The results are a moist, melt-in-your-mouth coffee cupcake experience.


Mocha Cupcakes With Espresso Buttercream
Yield: 16 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:
½ cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature

For the Espresso Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Make the Cupcakes: In a measuring cup, whisk the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until completely dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla extract; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the coffee mixture, mixing each until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, give the batter a final stir to ensure everything is incorporated.

5. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.

6. Make the Frosting: In a small bowl, whisk the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

7. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high speed until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and My Baking Addiction

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