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These moist coffee cupcakes are infused with espresso powder and topped with a creamy coffee frosting. Espresso cupcakes are a coffee lover’s dessert! 

coffee cupcakes on wire rack
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I’m a huge fan of coffee desserts. Coffee cheesecake is a favorite in our house if we want something fancy, espresso chunk brownies take brownies up one notch and espresso creme brûlée is my husband’s favorite.

These coffee cupcakes start with a moist cupcake batter. They get amazing coffee flavor from the addition of espresso powder.

What is espresso powder

Espresso powder is made from darkly roasted coffee beans that have been ground, brewed, dried and then ground into a very fine powder (ref King Arthur Baking). It’s much more concentrated than instant coffee, so you only need a teaspoon.

Espresso powder is used to give baked goods a delicious coffee flavor and it can be used to intensify the chocolate flavor in a recipe. You can buy espresso powder on amazon.

Total time required

  • 10 minutes to prep the batter
  • 20 minutes to bake the cupcakes
  • 1 hour+ to cool the cupcakes
  • 20 minutes to make the frosting and frost the cupcakes
espresso cupcakes topped with coffee frosting and a coffee bean

How to properly measure flour

  • Fluff the flour with a whisk.
  • Use a spoon to scoop the flour into your measuring cup.
  • Use a butter knife to level off the excess flour in the measuring cup.

Sticking the measuring cup straight into the bag of flour will result in too much flour to be packed into the cup, which can result in dry cake.

Frosting supplies

unfrosted coffee cupcakes on wire rack

Tips for making cupcakes

  • Use room temperature ingredients for easy mixing, creating a smooth batter without lumps. 
  • Properly measure the all purpose flour using the spoon and sweep method.
  • Make sure your baking powder is fresh. To test freshness, in a small dish add 1/4 cup hot water and stir in 1 tsp baking powder. If it bubbles, the baking powder is fresh and active! If it doesn’t bubble, it’s time to buy brand new baking powder. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until they are combined. Over mixing could lead to dry, dense cake.
  • Store frosted cupcakes covered on the counter.
mocha cupcake with bite removed

How to store cupcakes

Store frosted or unfrosted cupcakes in an air tight container on the counter for up to 2 days. This is a great 2 tier container for cupcakes.

For longer term storage, store unfrosted cupcakes in the freezer. Wrap cupcakes in bundles of 6 in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer ziplock bag or freezer storage container. To thaw, place the bag or container of cupcakes on the counter overnight. Add frosting once thawed. 

To freeze cupcakes with frosting, flash freeze them by placing them on a baking sheet for several hours in the freezer. Once frozen, wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap. Then place the cupcakes in an air tight container inside the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap the cupcakes and place them inside a container on the counter. 

espresso cupcakes topped with coffee frosting and a coffee bean

How to frost cupcakes

Transfer the frosting into a piping bag fit with your desired piping tip. Be sure to push the frosting down into the bag, and twist the top a few times to secure the bag. Pipe the frosting in a circular motion onto the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a coffee bean if desired.

We have more cupcake and frosting options, the combinations are endless!

4.58 from 7 ratings

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Coffee Cupcakes

By: Beth
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
20 minutes
Servings: 12
These moist coffee cupcakes are infused with espresso powder and topped with a creamy coffee frosting. Espresso cupcakes are a coffee lover’s dessert! 


  • ½ cup milk, 1%, 2% or whole
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Espresso Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 oz brewed espresso, must be cooled to room temperature, can replace with strong brewed coffee



  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
  • Next, add the flour, instant espresso powder, and baking powder. Mix just until no large lumps remain.
  • Divide the cake batter between the muffin tins, filling each one with about ¼ cup of batter.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Move the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.


  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the butter is smooth, about 60 seconds.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar.
  • Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, slowly add the cooled espresso.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.


Fresh espresso helps thin the buttercream so it’s light and smooth. It also adds more espresso flavor. Just make sure the espresso is room temperature– if it’s hot, it will melt the butter. If you don’t have fresh espresso, strongly brewed coffee will work too.
Make gluten free: I recommend King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Use it as a one for one substitute for regular flour.


Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 532IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Beth

I believe that everyone should have a go-to dessert to bring to parties! With hundreds of recipes, I'll help you find yours!

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1 Comment

  1. These coffee cupcakes look to die for! I have been baking for fun for sometime now, and I have followed many of your previous recipes, and I have to say they always turn out great! That baking powder tip is definitely going to be a game changer, I didn’t know their was a way tot ell if your baking powder is fresh or not. Keep up the great recipes!