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mocha cupcake sliced in half to show the texture of the chocolate cake with a wire rack in the background

Mocha Cupcakes

Mocha cupcakes are a delicious treat for coffee lovers. They're simple to make and they taste like they came from a bakery!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 48 minutes
Servings 14
Author Kelsie



  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted if it’s lumpy
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups lukewarm coffee


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar



  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line 14 to 15 muffin cups with cupcake liners and set pan aside.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and stir together. (These are your dry ingredients.) Set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar, melted butter, and oil in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix vigorously.
  4. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter mixture until just incorporated. Mix in half of the coffee.
  5. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining coffee. Stir until smooth. (The batter will be very thin.)
  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  7. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 15 minutes, then carefully remove from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting them.


  1. Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of milk, the cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine.
  2. With mixer on low, gradually beat in 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. Turn mixer to medium and beat until frosting is smooth. Add add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin; if it’s too thick add additional milk.
  3. Spread or pipe over the cooled cupcakes, then serve and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • *2 tablespoons of espresso powder was right for me but if you’re not sure how much mocha flavor you want in your frosting, start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste. If 2 tablespoons isn’t enough, feel free to add more!
  • Uneaten cupcakes can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. You can also refrigerate them for 3 or 4 days (but I think they taste best served at room temp).
  • Cupcakes can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for a couple of months.