The best chocolate cupcakes covered with creamy mocha buttercream frosting that are from scratch and super moist.
If you are a fan of coffee or mocha, you’re in for a real treat. These coffee flavored cupcakes are an easy homemade treat you’ll definitely love.
This post will go over how to make coffee cupcakes from scratch. There’s no fancy mixing method in this recipe and all the instructions are easy to follow.
The cupcake themselves have just a hint of coffee flavor along with a delicious chocolate taste.
The coffee mocha frosting is perfect for these cupcakes, but will also work for any chocolate cake or cupcakes you like.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
All-purpose flour: You don’t have to use any fancy flour for these cupcakes, good ol’ all-purpose flour works great here.
Make sure you’re measuring the flour correctly and not packing it down into the measuring cup. You can see more about that here: How to Measure Ingredients for Making Cakes
Unsweetened natural cocoa powder: You’ll just use regular cocoa powder (Hershey’s brand is fine). Dutch-processed cocoa powder is not the same as it is not acidic like natural cocoa powder and therefore the other ingredients would have to be adjusted.
Instant espresso powder: This is not the same as plain coffee…you really want espresso powder as it’s stronger and you want it to be instant. You may be able to find this at your local grocery store, but if not, you can grab some on Amazon here: Instant Espresso Powder
Unsalted butter: I like using unsalted butter as you can predict how much salt is being added to the recipe, whereas with salted butter, you really can’t be sure exactly how much salt is added.
Strong brewed coffee: This will flavor the water you’ll add to the cupcake batter. You can use the instant espresso powder to make this, or just brew a regular cup of coffee.
Mixing Method Notes:
This cake is extremely easy to mix together. You’ll just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid (except for the brewed coffee) in another bowl.
The liquid mixture will then be added to the dry mixture and mixed, then the brewed coffee will be added and mixed.
After the batter is mixed, it can then be added to the cupcake tins and baked.
Tips & FAQs:
For this recipe, you really want to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Dutch-process cocoa powder is not the same as it is not acidic and if you use it, then other ingredients within the recipe would need to be adjusted.
If you’d like to learn more about the differences and when to use the different types of cocoa powders, you can check out this post: Which Cocoa Powder Do I Use?
You could, but it probably won’t be strong enough to give the cupcakes a coffee flavor though.
Yes. You can just use regular granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. So, you’ll just use 2 cups of regular granulated sugar instead of one cup of granulated and one cup of brown sugar.
Unsalted butter is best because you won’t be adding in an unknown amount of salt to the recipe and the water content can sometimes be a little different in salted butter.
However, if you just can’t get unsalted butter, then substitute it with salted butter, but make sure to omit the salt that the recipe calls for.
Try to use the light metal cupcake pans. When using the dark-coated cupcake pans, watch the timer closely as it may bake the cupcakes a little quicker.
Be very careful to fill the cupcake tins no more than ⅔ (a little over halfway) full as if you add too much batter to a cupcake liner, then the tops of the cupcakes will bake up flat. This will not affect the taste, however.
They can be made a couple of days in advance, but make sure to cover them very well in an airtight container as cupcakes will dry out much quicker than cake will.
Keeping them in the refrigerator may also dry them out quicker, so if you have an area in your space that isn’t too warm, store them at room temperature, but covered well. These cupcakes can also be frozen. (See question below for details.)
Yes, after the cupcakes have baked and cooled, you can cover them in plastic wrap, then in foil, or you can add them to a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to a month.
For more tips on how to freeze cakes and cupcakes, see this post: How to Freeze Cakes and Cupcakes
To defrost, pull them out of the freezer and set them out at room temperature to defrost while still wrapped. Once defrosted, you can take the wrappings off, or remove them from the freezer bags and then frost them. Cupcakes are best frozen without frosting.
These cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, covered in an airtight container for several days.
These cupcakes will last for several days covered well at room temperature and up to 6 days in the refrigerator. (Just know that the refrigerator tends to dry out cupcakes faster though in my experience.) Frozen cupcakes will last for about a month in the freezer.
Yes. I have not specifically tested this out, but there is no reason it wouldn’t work and this recipe is close enough to my other cake recipes, it should work out just fine.
Pour the batter into two, 8 inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F. Start checking for doneness at about 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
These cupcakes are best served at room temperature.
If you want even more chocolate flavor, you could add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips to the batter.
A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed cocoa-see notes)
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup strong brewed hot coffee
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add cupcake liners to two cupcake pans. This recipe will make at least 24 cupcakes and possibly a few more.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar). Mix well with a whisk.
- In another bowl, add all the liquid ingredients (except for the hot coffee) and whisk well.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium with an electric mixer only until the ingredients are just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for about 5-10 seconds more.
- Add the hot coffee and mix until well combined. Be careful not to over mix at this point. Once well combined, stop mixing. Don't mix for several minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for about 5-10 seconds only.
- Fill cupcake liners a little over halfway up (about ⅔ of the way full). If you fill them too full, the cupcakes will bake with flat tops. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
- Set cupcakes on wire racks to cool for about ten minutes, then take cupcakes out of the pans and let cool completely on racks before adding frosting.
For the frosting:
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
- Add in the cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt and mix on low until combined, then on medium until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
- Add in 3 cups of confectioner's sugar. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until fully incorporated.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk, the vanilla extract and the last 2 cups of confectioner's sugar. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix again.
- Check the texture of your buttercream and if it's too thick, add milk only a tablespoon at a time, and mix after each addition.
- Once desired consistency is acheived, mix on medium high for a couple minutes to make it light and fluffy.
- Add to cooled cupcakes.
Double Chocolate Buttercream or Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting These cupcakes will keep for a few days, covered at room temperature. Keep them in an airtight container, so they don’t dry out. Nutritional values are an estimate. Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions you might have. This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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