Coffee mocha cupcakes! Moist, fluffy, and frosted with the most delicious coffee-flavored whipped cream frosting. Truly, a dream cake for every coffee lover out there!
This is another highly requested recipe here at RTK. It took a while but I'm so excited to share this coffee cupcake recipe with you. finally.
You will love it. I promise!
Coffee Mocha Cupcakes
Here's why you'll love this coffee cupcake recipe:
- The batter is easy to make–it's a straightforward cupcake recipe that is easier to make than a chiffon or sponge cake.
- Taste like a cafe mocha, in cake form! This is not a chocolate cupcake. It literally is a coffee-flavored cake.
- Super moist, fluffy, and delicious! Everything you love about a cupcake.
- Sweet but not too sweet. If you've been a long-time reader, you'll know how I don't like my cakes overly sweet.
- Frosted with the most delicious frosting - cream cheese whipped cream frosting added with just a hint of instant coffee to compliment the cupcakes.
What do these cupcakes taste like?
This cupcake is primarily made with coffee, whole milk, and cocoa powder—basically a coffee latte with chocolate.
Of course, I had to make it really special by adding whipped cream and chocolate chips on top.
You're welcome 🙂
What you need
Here are the ingredients you need to make coffee mocha cupcakes:
- All-purpose flour - these cupcakes come out better with all-purpose flour
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda - make sure they are still active and not past their due date.
- Butter - use pure unsalted butter, the best quality you can find.
- Buttermilk - I promise this would be a simple recipe so we're going to make our own buttermilk.
- Eggs - use two large eggs at room temperature.
- Sugar - use caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar. Avoid using coarse sugar as it doesn't dissolve easily.
- Oil - use canola oil or any flavorless vegetable oil. This is the secret ingredient to making cakes stay moist.
- Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee - considered the highest quality of instant espresso powder available. To be specific, I used freeze-dried arabica coffee.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - you will only need a hint so either dutch-processed or natural should work.
Tip: Use room temperature Ingredients
To prevent a flat-top cupcake, use room-temperature ingredients. This includes eggs, butter, and milk. Bring them out of the refrigerator 45mins – to 1 hour before you start baking.
To make the buttermilk, you only need two ingredients: white vinegar or lemon juice and whole milk or full-fat fresh milk. Don't use low-fat milk or evaporated milk as it can may the cake dry and crumbly.
How to Make It
And here's how to make coffee cupcakes:
A few tips:
- Dissolve the coffee powder in room-temperature milk. Don't dissolve in hot water or it will foam up and affect the cake's texture.
- Meanwhile, make the buttermilk. It usually takes around 10 minutes before it curdles so you can use that time to prepare and measure the rest of the ingredients.
- To make a light and fluffy cake, cream butter, vegetable oil, and sugar together then add eggs one at a time and beat after every addition.
- Stir in the buttermilk, salt, and coffee mixture. You'll notice streaks of curdled milk. That's normal.
- Sift the dry ingredients using a fine-mesh strainer. You can do this directly into the wet ingredients There's no need for a separate bowl.
- To prevent a dense and chewy cupcake, do not overmix the batter. Stir everything together until there are no streaks of flour visible. I usually start with an electric mixer and then finish stirring with a spatula so I don't overmix.
- Fill the muffin pan with cupcake liners ¾ full. This will allow room for the cupcakes to rise.
- To prevent holes inside your cake, tap the muffin pan a few times on your kitchen counter.
Frosting for Coffee Cupcakes
To make the frosting you will need:
- coffee/espresso powder
- 1 recipe of cream cheese whipped cream frosting (made of heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cream cheese)
Tip: Dissolve the coffee powder in a small amount of the cream, around ¼ cup. Once it's completely dissolved, add it to the remaining heavy cream.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting (warm cupcakes will melt the frosting!). If you're pressed for time, refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to quickly cool.
How to Frost and Decorate
Here's how I filled and frosted the cupcakes:
You can either make a small hole or a big hole using either a small knife or the back of a large piping tip. Fill the center of the cupcakes using small piping, then pipe small or tall peaks on top.
To decorate, simply top with mini chocolate chips or sprinkle with grated chocolate bars.
To make the cupcake batter, a simple hand whisk is all you need. I highly recommend using a hand or a stand mixer if making a big batch.
Make the cupcakes one day before you need them. Place in the fridge unfrosted. It will taste better the next day after all the flavors have developed.
Frost and decorate before serving.
Storage and Shelf-Life
To keep cupcakes moist, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in an air-tight container. It should last for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. This freezes fine for up to 3 months. Completely thaw before frosting.
Watch the Recipe Video
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Coffee Mocha Cupcakes
- ½ cup milk (full fat)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
Other Wet Ingredients
- Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake tin.
- Dissolve instant coffee powder in ¼ cup milk. Stir then set aside to completely dissolve.¼ cup milk, 2 teaspoon freeze-dried instant coffee
- Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside for around 10 minutes until it curdles.½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl whisk butter, oil, and sugar until pale. Add eggs one at a time. Continue beating until combined. Add buttermilk and coffee mixture and beat again.½ cup unsalted butter, ¾ cup white sugar, 2 tablespoon canola oil, 2 large eggs
- Sift dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir until there are no more traces of flour. Do not overmix.1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Fill each cupcake liner with the batter. They should just be ⅔ full. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
- Place ¼ cup of the cream and coffee powder in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. Add to the rest of the cream. Chill while making the cream cheese. Proceed with the next steps detailed in this recipe.
Frost the cupcakes (see step-by-step photo in the post)
- Make a hole in the center of each cupcake using a knife or the back of a piping tip. Fill a piping bag with a small tip with half of the frosting (or ziplock bag with a snipped corner). Fill the cupcakes.
- Pipe: Transfer the remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip. Pipe on to the cupcakes. Top with mini chocolate chips if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee - considered the highest quality of instant coffee available. To be specific, I used freeze-dried arabica coffee. Use 2 ½ teaspoons for a stronger coffee flavor.
- Frosting - double the recipe if piping tall swirls. You make skip filling the center of the cupcakes and go straight to pipping.
- Storage and shelf-life: Store the cupcakes UNFROSTED in an air-tight container so they don't dry out. It should last for 4 to 5 days.
- Nutrition: Frosting is not included in the calculation.