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4 ingredient coffee frosting buttercream recipe with instant coffee granules! This is now our go-to coffee frosting for chocolate cake!

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This coffee frosting is dreamy!

I will say this time and time again – my body cannot handle caffeine but I still LOVE the taste and smell of coffee.

It’s a bummer that even decaf coffee can still affect me so I usually get my coffee fix through baked goods. Like espresso cheesecake, coffee whipped cream, espresso brownies. They are all good.

And how did I forget about coffee ice cream?! That is probably where it all started.

4 ingredient espresso buttercream recipe with uses instant coffee granules!

Types of Buttercream

If you’re new to the world of buttercream, there’s actually different types – American, Swiss, Italian. American buttercream is the sweetest of them and consists of beating butter and powdered sugar together until you have a light, airy texture.

Buttercream is just a fancy name for frosting. I use them interchangeably now, but before I was a blogger I never used the term buttercream.

Why do I have air bubbles in my frosting and how can I get rid of them?

Air bubbles form when whipping the frosting, which is a necessary step in making buttercream! But you can reduce the amount of air bubbles by beating the frosting on low speed for a minute or by hand mixing the frosting. You are essentially pushing out the air bubbles.

2 layer chocolate espresso cake - this cake got rave reviews! Everyone loves the pairing of chocolate & coffee!

Instant Coffee Granules

One of the easiest ways to make coffee buttercream is to use instant coffee granules. The granules will help give the frosting big espresso flavor without making it too liquid-y, unlike if you were to put actual brewed coffee into the frosting. I like to use decaf instant coffee granules, but you can use regular if you’d like.

I also like that some of the granules don’t dissolve completely so the buttercream has flecks of coffee bits in it.

If you need a starting place for what to use this espresso buttercream with 2 layer espresso chocolate cake!

Cake to pair with coffee frosting

4.54 from 58 ratings

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Coffee Frosting

By: Beth
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
4 ingredient coffee frosting buttercream recipe with instant coffee granules! This is now our go-to coffee frosting for chocolate cake!


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 cup)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, can substitute with butter
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsp milk
  • additional 1-2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 2-4 cups powdered sugar


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy, 1 minute.
  • Add in the instant coffee granules that you dissolved in the milk.
  • Add in additional instant coffee granules, about 1 tsp at a time until you get your desired coffee flavor.
  • Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand first, then with the electric mixer. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting tastes good to you, is well mixed, and pipe-able.



This recipe will make enough frosting to pipe 12 cupcakes. If you’re wanting to cover a cake, double the recipe.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 13mg | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Calcium: 4mg | 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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4.54 from 58 votes (56 ratings without comment)

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  1. Could cream cheese be substituted for the 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and heavy whipping cream for the milk? I’m looking for a slightly stiffer, less sweet filling for chocolates.

    1. Hi Zyllah! The brewed espresso will make the frosting watery, requiring a lot more powdered sugar, so the frosting might end up tasting too sweet or being loose in texture.

  2. Hi, thanks for the recipe! For the butter, what is the weight (in grams) per butter stick? Would it be 1 butter stick = 250g?

  3. Beautiful! So excited to make this. Where do you get the cute chocolates you have on top? They go well with the frosting 

  4. Do I need to warm up the milk to dissolve the instant coffee? If so, do I need to wait until it goes back to room temperature before I add it to the recipe? Thanks. 

  5. I want to try it with NESCAFÉ Café de Olla Cinnamon Flavored Instant Coffee,
    to put on a chocolate bundt cake
    do you think that would work