Espresso Cupcakes

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

These cupcakes are a great excuse to have dessert for breakfast. My husband and I could not stop eating them! The frosting is the perfect consistency, it is a different buttercream than I usually use for cakes but it is whipped a little more, making it more like a latte with a whipped topping on top instead of a heavy buttercream.

In this blog, I won't be writing a whole lot with each recipe. I'll give a little background about why I like it, why it's unique, what I've changed that I love, etc. But personally, I hate when people write ten paragraphs before a recipe. Just let me see the recipe already!

Also, I will post the regular recipe along with the high elevation changes I've made to it. So that you people that aren't a mile high will not have to try to alter it. I will post the altered recipe below the original.

For these cupcakes, let me tell you, they are the first thing I made after moving to Colorado. I was so afraid that they would burn on the outside and be raw in the middle, and collapse after being taken out of the oven. That's what typically happens to cakes up here. Well they rose perfectly!

This recipe made about 16 cupcakes. However, not all of them made it to the frosting stage. One thing I love more than decorating cake is eating cake. And I LOVE fresh hot cake from the oven. In all my years of decorating cakes, I would usually kind of just snack on cake all day. You end up with a lot of shavings and corners and things like that when sculpting cakes. But one thing me and others could never resist was when a cake was fresh from the oven. My coworkers and I would yell, "Fresh cake! Fresh cake!"


When making the frosting, I ran out of espresso powder and compensated with cold brew. I was a little over-zealous with the brewed coffee and my frosting broke. If you follow the instructions exactly you will end up with a light frosting that is very smooth. I went with it anyway because it was DELICIOUS.

I always use a simple syrup on cupcakes or cakes. It makes them super moist. If you don't know how to make it, it's really easy. Boil equal parts sugar and water (1 cup each is a good start). If you have leftover, just put it in the fridge and heat it up before you use it again. You can apply it with a bottle or a brush.

One tip I learned from working at a cupcake shop was to start frosting your cupcakes from the center. It's much more pleasing to the eye to have no ends on the cupcake.

For these cupcakes these are all the supplies you need. The tip I used was an Ateco #824. I also threw on some edible white pearls.


  • 1-½ teaspoon Espresso Powder

  • ½ cups Strong Brewed Coffee

  • 1-⅓ cup All-purpose Flour

  • ⅓ cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda

  • ¼ teaspoons Salt

  • ½ cups (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature

  • ½ cups Granulated Sugar

  • ½ cups Light Brown Sugar

  • 1 whole Egg

  • ½ cups Whole Milk

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  • 1-½ teaspoon Espresso Powder

  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature

  • 2-½ cups Powdered Sugar

For the cupcakes: 1. Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved.

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. I use an ice scream scooper. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool.

For the frosting:

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 to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar. 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. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

High Altitude Recipe


  • 1-½ teaspoon Espresso Powder

  • ½ cups Strong Brewed Coffee