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Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

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Serves 12 | Prep Time 30 minutes | Cook Time 20 minutes

Why I Love This Recipe

Chocolate-coffee cupcakes topped with espresso-spiked buttercream. Perfect in place of your morning cup of coffee!

Ingredients You'll Need

For the cupcakes:
1-1/3 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup strong brewed coffee
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature

For the buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder


1. Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Baking for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.

To make the buttercream:

1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

*Note: To make the swirls on the cupcakes, I used a 1M decorating tip.

Questions, Comments & Reviews

I have always found espresso powder with no problem in the regular grocery store too! I find it next to all the other instant coffees on the coffee aisle. I loved these and had no problems with them, YUMMY

This IS difficult!! 2 of us so far couldn't find expresso powder ANYWHERE in the Grocery Store. It is very time-consuming. (Ok though!) Perhaps if you are used to making this you can prep in 30min but the first time for me....1hr. That is for batter and icing. I think because the batter could not get Fluffy...absent the didn't turn out right. Not enough air in it I guess!! I don't mean to be so crabby!! It just took me a long time and didn't turn out! I LOVE the frosting though and will either try this again with a mixer....or use Pilsbury Cake Mix. Thanks!

Wow sweetcupcake, so sorry you had such a difficult time with this recipe. I'll address each one of your issues... #1 I truly wouldn't consider this a difficult recipe, it's a pretty standard cupcake recipe. #2/3 I have always found espresso powder in the regular ol' grocery store, either near the coffee or in the baking aisle. #5 I honestly haven't hand-mixed a recipe in ages and it's good to know that this one doesn't work well for hand mixing. #6/7 I am unsure what could have caused your cupcakes to crater, but perhaps by hand mixing the ingredients weren't incorporated fully and the dry ingredients didn't absorb the wet ones enough. #8 I respectfully disagree that you could have achieved the same taste of the cupcakes from a box mix. #9 So sorry your kitchen is a disaster. #10 I'm still not sure what type of warning you would have like to have seen. As I said, this is a pretty typical cupcake recipe (with the addition of dissolving espresso powder), it took about 20 minutes to mix and get in the oven. They cooled, and were frosted. #11 The icing obviously would be most fitting for someone who loves coffee, as the buttercream is flavored with espresso. #12 Again, sorry about the smell.

UUUggghhh!!!! There should be a warning on these Cupcakes!! #1 it is a difficult recipe. #2 You cannot find Expresso Powder. (Must be only at Baking Supply Stores). I did go ahead and use the Starbucks instant coffee as one user reported. #3 That alone was $3.00 to use, and only enough for 1 time. #4 You cannot hand-mix this...which is what I tried to do. I TRIED!! I recently moved and could not find my mixer. Big deal right??! Wrong!! #5 My house smells like burned Cupcakes as we speak, there is burnt Cupcake batter all inside the bottom of my stove where most of the mix ran over. #6 I have HUGE craters in the middle of the Cupcakes. #7 They feel upon picking them up...that what is left is mostly air??!! #8 The cupcake tastes good...but I could have gotten the same taste using Pilsbury Chocolate Cake Mix. #9 My Kitchen is a DISASTER FROM ----!!! UUGGHH!!!! #10 I thank the Girl who posted this but wish I'd seen a warning of some sort before I spent the last 2 hrs creating havok in my Kitchen!! I cannot send these Cupcakes where I wanted to....THEY ARE A MESS!! I will have to go tomorrow and Buy Cake Mix and start over!! #11 The Icing is very good!! IF YOU LOVE COFFEE!! JMO, You are better off Buying a Mix and making only the Icing from this recipe. #12....Did I mention my House smells burnt??!! -Sweetcupcake

I made these the night they were posted! My husband, who regularly gets dragged to cupcake shops around the city, said that in comparrison to ALL the cupcakes I've ever made him eat these are a 9/10. And he is WAY picky. The only thing I did differently is I used Starbucks VIA Bold instant coffee, in place of the espresso powder that I could not find at the store. I disolved 1 and 1 half packets in 1/2 cup of water, then added the milk and followed the directions. I used the other 1 and 1 half packets in the frosting. (Starbucks packages 3 instant packets together for like $3) Next time I think I'd use 2 packets for the cupcakes. I also used more like 4 cups of powdered sugar in the frosting. The girls at Starbucks begged me to drop off the recipe to them!!! These are GREAT! And will become a staple from my kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

I'm sure my butt would completely disagree with your premise of swapping one of these babies out for my morning coffee, but they sound delicious and look absolutely beautiful! :)

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