These coffee cupcakes with espresso buttercream are a coffee-lover’s dream dessert. Soft and fluffy coffee-flavored cake gets topped with creamy buttercream flavored with espresso powder. They’re irresistible!
What’s better than a cup of coffee to start your day? A COFFEE CUPCAKE!
That’s right, you can get your morning brew in the form of a soft and fluffy (and topped with frosting-y) dessert!
From the simple coffee cupcake base to the out-of-this-world espresso buttercream on top, I’m confident that coffee lovers everywhere will go craaaaazy for these little cuties!
Why you’ll love these coffee cupcakes:
- They’re made from scratch but the recipe is still very simple
- You can customize them with more (or less!) coffee flavor if you want
- The ingredients are all easy to find and you probably have most on hand right now
How to make your cupcakes
- Whisk the dry ingredients together
- Beat room temperature butter until creamy
- Then beat in the sugar
- Beat in eggs and vanilla
- Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and milk
- Divide between muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes
- The coffee flavor in these cupcakes comes from instant espresso powder; see below for more information if you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient.
- Be sure your butter is at room temperature! Too cold and it won’t mix into the batter properly. Leave it on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes and it should be ready to use; to bring it to temp faster you can cut it into small pieces.
- Cool your cupcakes completely before you frost them or the frosting will melt!
How to make espresso buttercream
- Beat room temperature butter until it’s very creamy
- Add milk, espresso powder, and a few other ingredients, then mix
- Gradually beat in powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth
- I used 2 tablespoons of espresso powder in my frosting but you can add more or less depending on how much espresso flavor you want.
- If you want mocha frosting you can replace 1/3 cup of powdered sugar with cocoa powder; sift your cocoa powder first if it’s lumpy.
- Again, be sure your butter is at room temperature before you make your frosting. The frosting won’t mix properly or get light and creamy if the butter is cold.
- I used this Ateco 849 tip to frost my cupcakes
- If you have chocolate covered espresso beans on hand, they’d make a really cute garnish once your cupcakes are frosted!
Where can I buy espresso powder? What brand should I use?
These cupcakes are flavored with espresso powder rather than instant coffee because you can get a much stronger flavor that way.
I buy espresso powder at Target (it’s right next to the instant coffee) but it’s also available on Amazon and at some grocery stores. I always find it in the coffee/tea section of the store.
What is espresso powder?
Instant espresso powder is pretty much the same thing as instant coffee, except that it’s more intensely flavored (and it’s also more commonly used for baking than for drinking).
Can I use instant coffee in these cupcakes?
Because instant coffee isn’t as strong as instant espresso, you can’t use it as a substitute unfortunately.
How to store your cupcakes
Uneaten cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, covered, for 2 or 3 days. You can also store them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, covered, but I think the cupcakes taste best at room temperature.
If you want to freeze your cupcakes, set them on a baking sheet and freeze for about half an hour to set the frosting. Then wrap each cupcake individually and freeze for up to 2 months.
If you want to divide the work up over a few days, cool your cupcakes to room temperature, then cover the muffin tin with plastic wrap and store at room temp. Make your frosting the next day.
Be sure your cupcakes are fully cooled before you wrap them or they’ll sweat and get soggy.
You can also make your frosting ahead. Once it’s finished, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day or so. When you’re ready to frost your cupcakes, beat the frosting with an electric mixer on high speed until it warms up enough to pipe or spread.
You might need to add a little milk to make it spreadable but I usually find beating it with a mixer is sufficient.
Did you make these coffee cupcakes? That’s awesome! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic on IG–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your delicious creations!
Coffee cupcakes with espresso buttercream are a simple dessert that's a must for coffee lovers!
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 to 18 muffin cups with paper liners and set pans aside.
- Whisk the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place the butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. With mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Once the sugar is all added, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for a couple of minutes, until very light.
- Beat in the eggs and the vanilla.
- Turn mixer to low and beat in half of the dry ingredients until just combined, then beat in half of the sour cream and all of the milk.
- Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, again just until incorporated, then the remaining sour cream. The batter will be thick.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 18 to 24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth.
- Add 4 tablespoons of milk, the espresso powder, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine.
- With mixer on low, gradually beat in 4 cups of the powdered sugar.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then turn mixer to medium and beat until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin and additional milk if frosting is too thick.
- Pipe or spread frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with espresso beans (if desired). Serve.
- Uneaten cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, covered, for two or three days or in the fridge, covered, for 3 or 4 days. (I think the cupcakes taste best at room temp though.)
- You can also store them in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
- *You can add more or less espresso powder depending on how deep a coffee flavor you want.
- For mocha frosting, replace 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar with 1/3 cup of cocoa powder.