Have you ever wanted to drink your coffee and eat it to?? Then you need these espresso cupcakes!! A rich, coffee flavored cupcake topped with creamy espresso buttercream; these cupcakes should count as breakfast! Truly a coffee lovers dream!
If you don't want to take my word for it, Kyle doesn't drink coffee (he hates it) and even he loves these cupcakes!!
You just need a few ingredients to make these espresso cupcakes!
- Cake flour - I always use cake flour in my baked goods because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
- Butter - I like using melted butter for flavor in the cupcakes, but you can also sub a neutral vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Espresso powder - You can't have espresso cupcakes without espresso powder! King Arthur is my favorite brand of high quality espresso powder! Note: espresso powder is NOT the same as instant espresso!! Espresso powder is much more flavorful and more finely ground, making it more suitable for baking.
- Brewed coffee - I love adding brewed coffee or espresso to the cupcakes for an even richer coffee flavor! However, if you don't want to brew just ½ cup of coffee, you can swap it out for water or milk.
- Chocolate covered espresso beans - These are optional, but I love adding them as a cupcake garnish!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Chocolate mocha cupcakes: Reduce the flour by ¼ cup and add in ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, for a delicious chocolate/coffee combo!
Boozy Bailey's cupcakes: Add 2-4 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream to the buttercream instead of the regular cream.
You might also like my brown butter dirty chai cupcakes for a coffee and chai combo!
How to Make Coffee Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until combined.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then stir in the brewed coffee and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Top the espresso cupcakes with chocolate covered espresso beans and an extra sprinkle of espresso powder if desired!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips
- Make sure you let the espresso cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
- For these big beautiful espresso frosting swirls on these coffee cupcakes, I use the large star tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
- Top with chocolate covered espresso beans, if desired.
- These espresso cupcakes pair perfectly with a big cup of coffee!!
These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
Technically yes, but I don't recommend it. Instant coffee isn't as strong as espresso powder and it also typically has a harsher flavor that doesn't taste as good in cupcakes.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup brewed espresso or coffee, substitute whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then stir in the brewed coffee and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
- Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter, powdered sugar, and espresso powder until smooth and creamy.
- Add in 1-2 tablespoons of cream as needed to thin out the buttercream, then beat for 4-5 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M tip for these photos.
- Top with chocolate covered espresso beans and an extra sprinkle of espresso powder if desired!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.