These chocolate espresso cupcakes with coffee buttercream frosting are seriously so flavorful, moist, and tender! They pack an extra chocolaty flavor with hints of espresso to combine a cup of coffee and sweet snack in one treat.
* This post was updated with new photos 🙂
Coffee lovers rejoice! These chocolate espresso cupcakes with espresso frosting are the perfect dessert to get your coffee fix.
What's especially amazing about these cupcakes (aside from ... well, everything!) is the fact that the chocolate flavor and coffee flavor really bring out the best in each other! If you've made my chocolate cupcakes or fudgy chocolate cake, you'll know we use a hint of coffee in the batter because it really makes the chocolate flavor shine.
These cupcakes are kind of like a combination between a morning sweet and your morning coffee. So does that make it okay to have in the morning?
Probably not, but I can dream can't I?
Espresso cupcakes ingredients:
• water: you'll need hot water to dissolve your espresso powder
• espresso powder: wouldn't be much of an espresso cupcake without it!
• cocoa powder
• baking powder & baking soda: I like a combination for an extra light and airy cupcake!
• butter: for the frosting and cupcakes
• sugar: granulated for the cupcake and powdered for the frosting
• vanilla extract
• buttermilk: buttermilk helps give you an extra moist and airy cupcake. If you don't have any on hand, here's how to make a buttermilk substitute using regular milk!
How to make espresso cupcakes:
For the cupcakes:
1. Dissolve espresso powder in water. Set aside to prep the rest of the batter.
2. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together and set aside.
3. Cream together butter and sugar. It doesn't need to be fluffy. Just until the sugar dissolves into the butter.
4. Add in egg and vanilla. Whisk together with your butter and sugar.
5. Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients. Whisk about ⅓ of the dry ingredients into the butter mix, followed by all of the buttermilk. Mix in another ⅓ dry ingredients, followed by the espresso dissolved in water, and finish off with the remaining ⅓ of your dry ingredients.
6. Portion and bake. Scoop the batter into your cupcake tin and bake. Cool completely before frosting.
For the espresso frosting:
1. Dissolve espresso powder. Whisk with boiling water until dissolved, and set aside to cool.
2. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix until pale and fluffy.
3. Mix in vanilla and cooled espresso. Beat together until light and fluffy. If it's too thick, gradually add more room temperature water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it's at your desired consistency.
4. Frost cupcakes! And eat away (but I know you don't need me to tell you that!)
Check out these similar recipes!
Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting Recipe
For the chocolate espresso cupcakes:
- ½ cup (120mL) boiling water
- 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 & ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (27g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- ½ cup (120mL) buttermilk
For the espresso buttercream frosting:
- 2 tablespoons boiling water, plus more room temperature water if needed
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups (520g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12 count cupcake tin with paper liners, and set aside.
- Make the chocolate espresso cupcakes: In a medium sized bowl or cup, whisk together espresso powder and water until the espresso is dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly while you prep the rest of the batter.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment or a wooden spoon by hand, cream together the butter and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. This will take about 1 minute on medium speed or 2 to 3 minutes by hand. It doesn't need to be fluffy, and the mixture will still be grainy. Add in your egg and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the butter/sugar mix. Start by whisking in about ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by all of your buttermilk. The mixture may look a bit clumpy and separated at this point, but that's normal! Whisk in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by the coffee. Finish off by mixing in the final ⅓ of your dry ingredients until just combined.
- Portion your batter into your prepared cupcake tin, filling each cup no more than about ⅔ of the way full. You may need to do two batches depending on the size of your paper liners. Bake the cupcakes in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the baked cupcakes in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
- Make the espresso buttercream: In a small bowl, whisk together your espresso powder and boiling water until the espresso is dissolved. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature before using.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater or whisk attachment, cream together until light and fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed). You can do this by hand, but it's quite a workout!
- Add your cooled espresso/water mix and vanilla to the butter mixture. Beat together for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If your frosting is too stiff, gradually add more room temperature water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Frost your cooled cupcakes, and serve!