These espresso cupcakes use both brewed coffee and instant espresso powder for a punch of flavor. Light, fluffy, and with an espresso buttercream!
Coffee is my ultimate favorite flavor to bake with. Whether its these coffee chocolate chip cookies, these coffee blondies, or this coffee cheesecake, I literally cannot get enough of it. I just love coffee desserts!
When I was in pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu, one of our assignments was to make a cake and buttercream in any flavor we wanted. I immediately went for the coffee and never looked back! This time I decided to add to my list of cupcake recipes with coffee cupcakes!
Why you should make this recipe
The cupcakes are easy to make in just one bowl, whether or not you use a mixer. They have a light coffee flavor that isn’t to heavy or sweet and bake up in only 18 minutes. Top them with the espresso buttercream frosting and you can skip your morning cup of joe! As an alternative you can also top them with this 5 minute coffee buttercream frosting!
Ingredients you need
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes and you will need the following ingredients:
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- kosher salt- not table salt!
- baking soda
- baking powder
- 2 eggs
- vegetable oil
- brewed coffee
- instant espresso granules
You can any instant espresso granules that you find in the grocery store. This is not the same as espresso powder. Espresso powder is different because it is more finely ground and is made for baking. It is a little bit harder to find which is why I specifically made this recipe with the instant stuff because we are all about ease people!
How to make them
- Combine all the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time mixing in between. Next add in the vegetable oil, and continue to mix.
- The milk goes in next. In a measuring cup add the brewed coffee and the instant espresso granules. Mix to combine the two.
- Add the coffee mixture into the batter and continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
- Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners and fill 2/3 of the way full
- Bake for 18 mins at 350° F.
Top the cupcakes with this insanely fluffy espresso buttercream. Seriously, I can eat this with just a spoon!
You can pipe the buttercream on using a piping bag and a tip. Or you can just cut off the corner of a zip top bag and pipe it on like that if you don’t have any professional baking tools.
I also used chocolate covered espresso beans that I found in Trader Joes. I like using these ones because they are different colors which makes the cupcakes even prettier.
Storing and Freezing Tips
You do not need to refrigerate these cupcakes whether or not they are topped with the buttercream. They will stay fresh in an airtight container or cake dome for 5 days at room temperature.
If you want to make them ahead, I suggest you make the cupcakes up to 2 days in advance and then make the buttercream and frost the day you are serving them.
To freeze, make the cupcakes then place them in a freezer safe zip top bag and press out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months without the buttercream, then frost on the day you plan to serve them.
- Make sure yo use room temperature ingredients to help create a smooth batter. Learn how to soften butter quickly.
- Measure your flour correctly. Use a kitchen scale or spoon flour into your measuring cup and then level it off.
- To make brewed coffee for this recipe, combine 2 oz hot water with 1/2 tsp instant coffee
- This recipe only makes 12 cupcakes. You can double this recipe easily for 24.
- If you want to make these into minis you totally can! Bake them for 12 minutes.
Should you use espresso, coffee grounds, or brewed coffee in cupcakes? This recipe used brewed coffee AND espresso powder for a really nice coffee flavor. Espresso powder is preferred because it has a deeper coffee flavor but you can use whatever you have on hand.
Can you add espresso to buttercream or frosting? – Yes! You can either add in the powder directly, or you can dissolve it in hot water and add it once its cooled. The powder is preferred because it wont water down the frosting. Check out my espresso buttercream frosting recipe for how to make it!
How do you make coffee-flavored baked goods? Espresso powder is made for baking and making coffee flavored desserts! All it takes is a teaspoon or 2 added to your favorite recipes to give a great coffee flavor. Make sure to check out all my coffee desserts, some are listed below!
More Espresso and coffee flavored desserts
- Super Fluffy Espresso Buttercream
- The Best Coffee Cheesecake
- Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies
- Coffee Blondies
The Best Fluffy Espresso Cupcakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs large
- 1/2 cup milk any kind
- 1/4 cup brewed instant coffee
- 1/2 tsp instant espresso
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp baking powder and mix on low speed.
- Add the eggs one at a time mixing in between. Next add in the 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Mix on low- medium speed until combined. About 30 seconds.
- Slowly pour the 1/2 cup milk in. In a measuring cup combine the 1/4 cup brewed coffee and 1 tsp instant espresso and combine. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the batter. Mix until combined.
- Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with liners and fill only 2/3rd of the way up. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the cupcakes are puffed up and springy in the middle.
- See below for Espresso buttercream frosting recipe.