Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

It’s funny – I don’t like coffee.  I don’t think I’ve ever had an entire cup, ever.  My usual caffeine infusion system is a steady stream of diet Coke.

That said…I love the smell of coffee, especially freshly ground beans.  And I love the flavor coffee adds to baked goods.  Maybe it’s the enormous amounts of sugar that goes into them, or maybe coffee is just like vanilla to me – a fantastic ingredient but not something I’d ever drink straight.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter – we have things like mocha cupcakes with coffee buttercream frosting.  And coffee lovers and coffee haters can all agree – all is good in the world.  Very, very good.



·        ½ cup of brewed coffee, brought to room temperature

·        1 ½ t instant coffee (or espresso) powder

·        ½ cup milk

·        2 t vanilla

·        1 1/3 cups flour

·        1/3 cup sweetened cocoa powder

·        1 t baking powder

·        ½ t baking soda

·        ½ t salt

·        ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        ½ cup sugar

·        ½ cup dark brown sugar

·        1 egg, brought to room temperature

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

·        1 ½ t instant coffee (or espresso) powder

·        2 t vanilla

·        1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        2 ¾ cups powdered sugar


In a small bowl (or a small serving bowl or large coffee cup) pour in the coffee and coffee powder and whisk until the powder is completely dissolved.  Add in the milk and the vanilla, whisk a little more, and set that aside.

In a separate regular-sized bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set that aside.

In yet another bowl (this is a bowl-heavy recipe, but worth it), put in the butter, sugar and brown sugar and mix with your hand mixer until fluffy, maybe 3-4 minutes.  Then add in the egg and beat again until it’s completely combined.  Next, alternate mixing in the flour mixture and the coffee, starting and ending with the flour.  Make sure that’s fully mixed.


Put cupcake liners into a cupcake tin and fill each one about 2/3 with batter.  Expect the batter to make maybe 18 to 20 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the tin from the oven remove the cupcakes from the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack.  Don’t frost them until they’re completely cool!

While the cupcakes are cooling you can start making the frosting.

In a small cup (maybe a coffee cup) pour the instant coffee powder and vanilla and whisk until the coffee is fully dissolved and set that aside.

In a bowl (yes, more bowls) put the butter and mix with your hand mixer for about 5 minutes.  The goal is to make it super fluffy.

IMG_8388Then, add in the powdered sugar and mix that in.  I’d recommend adding a little at a time so the powdered sugar doesn’t go flying everywhere.  Make sure you’ve mixed that for a good couple minutes…again, we’re going for really soft and fluffy here.

Finally, add in the vanilla mixture and mix until it’s fully blended.  As you might guess, since there’s a lot of mixing here, feel free to mix for a while.

Once the cupcakes are cool (I know I said that already, but it’s worth repeating), put them into a pastry bag (or a plastic bag and snip of a corner), frost and enjoy.  I actually like putting them in the fridge a little bit rather than eating immediately so that the frosting hardens.

These.  Are.  Awesome.


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